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Bioartificial liver device proceeds to clinical trials

A bioartificial liver device develop here that could take over liver function during a transplant is heading toward clinical trial, Samsung Seoul Hospital said Friday.

Dr. Lee Suk-koo and Dr. Kwon Choon-hyuck of the hospital’s transplant division in the surgery department said they are looking for people who will participate in the clinical trial testing the safety and effectiveness of their extracorporeal device, which allows the liver to regenerate properly upon acute liver failure or bridge the person’s liver function until transplant is available.

In the operating room, the 1.6 meter-tall and 80 centimeter-wide product will stay by the patients’ side during the transplant surgery and remove toxins from inside the body as well as secrete albumin, which is a function of the original liver.

It also refines blood plasma by contacting it with liver cells extracted from gnotobiotic pigs, then combine it with the blood cells against and injected back to the body, the researchers said.

Because it replaces partial function of the liver, the device is expected to extend the period of time liver failure patients can wait till they receive a proper liver transplant. It could also help patients’ recovery, too, the doctors said.

Those who opt for the trial should be between 18 and 60 years old, and weigh over 45 kilograms. They should have acute liver failure or other conditions in need of liver transplant. Those selected will be provided with a free examination, treatment and hospitalization.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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