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Bioreactors for Extracorporeal Liver Support

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Hybrid extracorporeal liver support is an option to assist liver transplantation therapy. An overview on liver cell bioreactors is given and our own development is described. Furthermore, the prospects of the utilization of human liver cells from discarded transplantation organs due to steatosis, cirrhosis, or traumatic injury, and liver progenitor cells are discussed. Our Modular Extracorporeal Liver Support (MELS) concept proposes an integrative approach for the treatment of hepatic failure with appropriate extracorporeal therapy units, tailored to suit the actual clinical needs of each patient. The CellModule is a specific bioreactor (charged actually with primary human liver cells, harvested from human donor livers found to be unsuitable for transplantation). The DetoxModule enables albumin dialysis for the removal of albumin-bound toxins, reducing the biochemical burden of the liver cells and replacing the bile excretion of hepatocytes in the bioreactor. A Dialysis Module for continuous veno-venous hemofiltration can be added to the system if required in hepato-renal syndrome.

Keywords: Bioreactors; Liver progenitor cells; Liver support; Primary human liver cells

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Surgery and Bioengineering, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA Division of Experimental Surgery, Department of Surgery, Charite-Campus Virchow, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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