A stem cell-based prosthetic liver is now eligible for clinical testing in China, which could benefit millions of individuals who suffer from liver failure. An outside-the-body device that performs the functions of the liver, including detoxification and the creation of proteins and chemicals required for development and digestion, has been developed by a Chinese team as a bioreactor, according to a source.
How the bioreactor system functions in human body
Blood passes through the bioreactor system, which grows stem cells and other necessary components in a hollow fibre membrane before introducing them to a patient’s circulation to aid in tissue regeneration and suppress liver damage brought on by inflammation.
As stated in a report by the South China Morning Post, Gao Yi, executive director of the Translational Medicine Centre at Zhujiang Hospital of Southern Medical University in Guangdong Province said, “In animal models involving pigs and monkeys, we observed that our method increased the survival rate from 17 per cent, as seen with conventional treatments, to 87.5 per cent”. Overseeing the development of the technology he added, “Its efficacy seems very good, observed both in cell models and in animal models like mice, pigs and monkeys. Additionally, our quality control in production is stable.”
The bio-artificial liver’s purpose is to support the sick liver until it can regenerate or until a suitable donor organ is available for transplantation. The only viable treatment for liver failure at the moment is liver transplantation. However, the treatment is frequently constrained by a lack of donors, difficult surgeries, hefty costs, and ultimately the requirement for lifelong immunosuppressants.
According to the study, China has a high prevalence of liver failures, with 500,000–1 million newly diagnosed cases reported annually.
When was the idea generated?
In the 1950s, the idea of artificial livers was initially put forth. The creation of bioartificial livers began in the 1980s. Without relying on extrinsic plasma and blood proteins, this study intended to simulate the whole range of functions of actual livers. However, these systems have drawbacks, including serious side effects, a large requirement for plasma, and the inability to undo liver damage.
According to the report, In 1996, Gao started doing fieldwork. According to him, his initiative was the first of its kind to receive funding from China’s National Natural Science Foundation.
Even though they are currently in the research and development stage, bio-artificial livers have the potential to be a revolutionary treatment for liver failure in the future. According to reports, a number of biotech firms, both domestically and abroad, are looking at bio-artificial liver technology.
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