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Artificial Livers Coming Soon

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  • scarletpaolicchi
    Best Wishes, Scarlet http://www.healthyhepper.com Artificial Livers Coming Soon By Riya Chauhan Washington, February 7: Treatment for liver damage may soon
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 15, 2009
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      Best Wishes,
      Scarlet
      http://www.healthyhepper.com

      Artificial Livers Coming Soon

      By Riya Chauhan

      Washington, February 7: Treatment for liver damage may soon reach a
      new level
      with the development of a system made up of human liver cells,
      designed to mimic
      the function of the organ.
      The decades-long quest for a suitable replacement of a dying liver
      recently saw
      a sudden boost as scientists began testing on the world's first artificial
      liver.

      The device, called Extracorporeal Liver Assist Device (ELAD), is a 4-inch
      plastic disk filled with "immortalized" lab-cultured human liver cells to
      perform the complicated functions of a the master organ.

      The cells are grown around a series of hollow fibers and the patients'
      plasmadefine is passed through them. Toxins in the plasma are filtered
      through
      the fiber membrane, and they get metabolized by the liver cells.

      The cells are also made to synthesize essential proteins, enzymes,
      blood-clotting factors, all of which are sent back into the plasma.
      The cellular
      components of blood are added to this filtered plasma and it is
      returned to the
      patient.

      Liver, unlike other vital organs of the body, has a remarkable
      capability to
      regenerate if allowed enough recovery time. Transplant is only carried
      out when
      the damage is beyond the liver's capacity to regenerate.

      ELAD helps buy time for the liver to recover on its own and
      consequently helps
      delay, or avoid, the transplant.

      "If we could buy some time while the liver is recovering, that
      potentially would
      be a great advance," says Dr. Lena Napolitano of the University of
      Michigan, who
      is among the team of scientists testing the ELAD.

      Clearly, the device cannot replace the liver but it "comes closer to
      replacing
      the amount of liver" people need, said Dr. Robert Brown of New
      York-Presbyterian
      Hospital and Columbia University.

      People with progressive hepatitis or cirrhosis may benefit the most
      from the
      device.

      Previous attempts in this direction had also met with early success
      but they had
      to be discarded eventually.

      This is still a very early stage; a lot needs to be explored in the
      field to
      combat the liver failures effectively. Nearly 28,000 people die from liver
      disease in the United States each year, and fewer than 6,000 get liver
      transplants.

      The FDA wants to know if three to 10 days of ELAD liver support
      improves 30-day
      survival over the patients who receive the standard supportive care
      available
      today.

      Vital Therapies Inc., the manufacturer of the device, claims that 85
      percent of
      the first 49 patients studied in China, had better short-term survival
      compared
      with half of patients given regular care.

      The device carried a $30,000 price tag; the doctors also need to
      evaluate if the
      benefits of ELAD make up for the huge cost.

      http://www.themedguru.com/articles/artificial_livers_coming_soon-86120508.html
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