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Frontiers of Medicine

ISSN 2095-0217

ISSN 2095-0225(Online)

CN 11-5983/R

Postal Subscription Code 80-967

2018 Impact Factor: 1.847

Front Med    2011, Vol. 5 Issue (1) : 15-19     DOI: 10.1007/s11684-010-0110-x
Bioartificial liver devices: Perspectives on the state of the art
Yi-Tao DING(), MM, Xiao-Lei SHI, MD
Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, the Affiliated Drum Tower Hospital of the Nanjing University Medical School, Nanjing 210008, China
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Acute liver failure remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Bioartificial liver (BAL) devices have been in development for more than 20 years. Such devices aim to temporarily take over the metabolic and excretory functions of the liver until the patients’ own liver has recovered or a donor liver becomes available for transplant. The important issues include the choice of cell materials and the design of the bioreactor. Ideal BAL cell materials should be of good viability and functionality, easy to access, and exclude immunoreactive and tumorigenic cell materials. Unfortunately, the current cells in use in BAL do not meet these requirements. One of the challenges in BAL development is the improvement of current materials; another key point concerning cell materials is the coculture of different cells. The bioreactor is an important component of BAL, because it determines the viability and function of the hepatocytes within it. From the perspective of bioengineering, a successful and clinically effective bioreactor should mimic the structure of the liver and provide an in vivo-like microenvironment for the growth of hepatocytes, thereby maintaining the cells’ viability and function to the maximum extent. One future trend in the development of the bioreactor is to improve the oxygen supply system. Another direction for future research on bioreactors is the application of biomedical materials. In conclusion, BAL is, in principle, an important therapeutic strategy for patients with acute liver failure, and may also be a bridge to liver transplantation. It requires further research and development, however, before it can enter clinical practice.

Keywords acute liver failure      bioartificial livers      hepatocyte      bioreactor     
Corresponding Authors: DING Yi-Tao,   
Issue Date: 05 March 2011
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