Acute liver failure is usually fatal without a liver transplant. In spite of this the liver can regenerate and recover if given time to heal. An article in BioResearch Open Access, a bimonthly peer-reviewed open access journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers describes a bioartificial liver machine that can provide temporary support while organ regeneration takes place has been scaled up for testing in a large animal model. The article is available on the BioResearch Open Access website .
A team of researchers from University College London (UCL), UCL Medical School, and University of Cambridge in the U.K., and Université de Technologie de Compiègne, France, developed a method in which they encapsulated human-derived liver cells in alginate and allowed them to grow and multiply in a bioreactor. Eloy Erro and colleagues optimized the growth conditions and nutrient and oxygen levels so the encapsulated liver cells in the bioreactor could reach a density sufficient to support a human liver. The authors describe their methods and the storage protocol they devised for transporting the bioartificial liver machine from the laboratory to a patient's bedside within 48 hours in the article, Bioengineering the Liver: Scale Up and Cool Chain Delivery of the Liver Cell Biomass for Clinical Targeting in a Bioartificial Liver Support System."
"As the demand for liver transplantation exceeds the supply, there is a real need to pursue more innovative approaches to solve this problem," says Editor-in-Chief Jane Taylor, PhD, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. "The article described here demonstrates a significant step towards achieving this goal."