Researchers test bioartificial liver device to treat acute liver failure

July 24, 2015 by From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network
3D-illustration of a human liver with blood vessels (red and blue) and bile duct (green) Source: Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Meinzer, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum

Approximately 30,000 to 40,000 people die from liver disease each year, according to the American Liver Foundation. For people who experience acute liver failure, the only proven treatment has been liver transplantation. Researchers at Mayo Clinic have developed and are testing an alternative to liver transplantation called the Spheroid Reservoir Bioartificial Liver that can support healing and regeneration of the injured liver, and improve outcomes and reduce mortality rates for patients with acute liver failure - without requiring a transplant.

Developed by Dr. Scott L. Nyberg, principal investigator in the Artificial Liver and Liver Transplantation Laboratory at Mayo Clinic, and surgeon, the device uses healthy hepatocytes, or , from pigs to do the job of a normal, healthy , which aids in digestion and the removal of waste and toxins from the bloodstream. Treatment with the Spheroid Reservoir Bioartificial Liver (SRBAL) has been shown to reduce the severity of and improve survival in pigs. Future clinical studies are planned to assess the SRBAL as a less-invasive, long-term treatment option to . Results from a study using the device in a pivotal preclinical trial were published today in the Journal of Hepatology.

To see how the device works and access exclusive video of researchers in Mayo's laboratories, click here.

"Acute liver failure claims the lives of over 30 percent of people who are diagnosed with this condition. Liver transplantation has been the go-to option for treating acute liver failure, but it also comes with many risks and isn't always an option, due to compatibility and availability of donor livers," says Dr. Nyberg. "A bioartificial liver device could allow physicians to treat and extend the lives of more patients, safely and cost-effectively, with fewer risks."

The study conducted by Dr. Nyberg was designed to serve as a preclinical trial on pigs with drug-induced . The animals were treated using the Spheroid Reservoir Bioartificial Liver and were injected with healthy donor hepatocytes to determine if this treatment method could reverse the severity of their disease.

"This study demonstrated that animals treated using the bioartificial liver responded to the healthy hepatocytes and reached the study endpoint with less disease severity than animals that received other forms of treatment," said Dr. Nyberg. "Although the artificial liver is not yet cleared for use on humans, these findings show promise as an effective treatment option for diseases like liver cancer and hepatitis, which is becoming an increasingly common diagnosis."

The rights to the SRBAL have been exclusively optioned to Liver Cell Technologies for commercial development. Mayo Clinic and Dr. Nyberg have a financial interest in the product and Liver Cell Technologies.

According to the American Liver Foundation, there are more than 100 different types of liver disease that can compromise liver function and lead to chronic and life-threatening conditions such as hepatitis, non-alcoholic , and liver cancer.

Mayo Clinic performs approximately 120 liver transplants each year at its hospitals in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida.

Explore further: Live donor liver transplantation found safe and effective for acute liver failure

146 shares

Related Stories

Live donor liver transplantation found safe and effective for acute liver failure

March 19, 2015
When patients develop acute liver failure, severe complications arise rapidly after the first signs of liver disease, and patients' health can deteriorate rapidly. New research published in the American Journal of Transplantation ...

Potential liver recipients may have new option

June 5, 2015
(HealthDay)—Livers from donors who suffered cardiac death can be safely and effectively transplanted into patients dying of liver cancer, a new study suggests.

Study identifies characteristics of patients likely to have a potential living liver donor

June 24, 2015
New research published in Liver Transplantation, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the International Liver Transplantation Society, reports that younger patients, those who are married, ...

Livers donated after cardiac death are safe to use in liver cancer patients

May 19, 2015
Patients with liver cancer can be cured with a liver transplant. But because of the shortage of donated organs, these patients often die waiting for a liver. That's because most transplant centers predominantly use livers ...

Baclofen shows promise in patients with alcohol-induced liver disease

April 23, 2015
Results revealed today at The International Liver Congress 2015, show that in patients with alcohol-induced liver disease (ALD), Baclofen has a positive impact on alcohol consumption and overall measures of liver function ...

New genetic screen paves the way for long-sought treatments for liver disease

April 11, 2013
Chronic liver failure is a major health problem that causes about one million deaths around the world each year. A study published April 11th by Cell Press in the journal Cell reveals a new type of screen for identifying ...

Recommended for you

Researchers a step closer to understanding how deadly bird flu virus takes hold in humans

November 19, 2018
New research has taken a step towards understanding how highly pathogenic influenza viruses such as deadly bird flu infect humans.

Infants born to obese mothers risk developing liver disease, obesity

November 16, 2018
Infant gut microbes altered by their mother's obesity can cause inflammation and other major changes within the baby, increasing the risk of obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease later in life, according to researchers ...

New study shows NKT cell subsets play a large role in the advancement of NAFLD

November 16, 2018
Since 2015 it has been known that the gut microbiota could have a direct impact on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which affects up to 12% of adults and is a leading cause of chronic liver disease. In the November ...

Antibiotic prescribing influenced by team dynamics within hospitals

November 15, 2018
Antibiotic prescribing by doctors is influenced by team dynamics and cultures within hospitals.

Discovery suggests new route to fight infection, disease

November 14, 2018
New research reveals how a single protein interferes with the immune system when exposed to the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease, findings that could have broad implications for development of medicines to fight ...

New research aims to help improve uptake of hepatitis C testing

November 14, 2018
New research published in Scientific Reports shows persisting fears about HIV infection may impact testing uptake for the hepatitis C Virus (HCV).

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.