According to a new research, a bio-artificial liver support system for patients suffering from acute liver failure is on its way, as investigations are done to assess its safety and effectiveness. Steven D. Colquhoun, lead investigator at Cedars-Sinai said that the quest for a device that can fill in for the function of the liver (at least on a temporary basis) temporarily, has been under trial for decades. The bio artificial liver (BAL) is the one that can achieve this task as it posses the potential to sustain patients with acute liver failure until their liver start to self-repair.
Studies for BAL are currently underway in 49 sites across the United States, in Europe and Australia. The research involves patients with liver disease caused by acute alcoholic hepatitis, typically a group with few therapeutic options. In the bio artificial liver, blood is drawn from the patient via a central venous line and filtered through a component system featuring four tubes, which are embedded with liver cells.
The external organ support system is designed to perform critical functions of a normal liver, including protein synthesis, processing and cleaning a patient’s blood. The filtered and treated blood is returned to the patient through the central line. Colquhoun added that if successful, a bio artificial liver could not only allow time for a patient’s own damaged organ to regenerate, also promote that regeneration. In the case of chronic liver failure, BAL could also potentially support some patients through a lengthy waiting period for a liver transplant.