A new bio-artificial liver developed by Austrian researchers may be the future of treatment for those suffering from liver failure. According to the study, published in Artificial Organs, the group tested the device on pigs, whose survival surpassed that of untreated pigs by 150%.
?This is a cheaper, more accessible alternative to traditional liver transplantation,? says co-author Boris Hochleitner. ?Currently, the best way to treat a failing liver is to replace it with a liver transplant, but donor organs are scarce and not all diseases allow transplantation.? The bio-artificial liver may even serve as a support system while a patient?s own liver heals and regenerates, making some transplants unnecessary.
The bio-artificial liver consists of living cells contained within a device, through which a patient?s blood is circulated. Though the apparatus is not ready for use on humans, the results of this animal study show promise. ?If our bio-artificial liver can be developed further and confirmed safe for human use, it could revolutionize treatment for those facing liver failure,? says Hochleitner.