Acute liver failure is usually fatal without a liver transplant, but the liver can regenerate and recover if given time to heal. A bioartificial liver machine that can provide temporary support while organ regeneration takes place has been scaled up for testing in a large animal model and is described in an article in BioResearch Open Access, a bimonthly peer-reviewed open access journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available on the BioResearch Open Access website .
A team of researchers from University College London (UCL), UCL Medical School, and University of Cambridge in the U.K., and Université de Technologie de Compiègne, France, developed a method in which they encapsulated human-derived liver cells in alginate and allowed them to grow and multiply in a bioreactor. Eloy Erro and colleagues optimized the growth conditions and nutrient and oxygen levels so the encapsulated liver cells in the bioreactor could reach a density sufficient to support a human liver. The authors describe their methods and the storage protocol they devised for transporting the bioartificial liver machine from the laboratory to a patient’s bedside within 48 hours in the article, “Bioengineering the Liver: Scale Up and Cool Chain Delivery of the Liver Cell Biomass for Clinical Targeting in a Bioartificial Liver Support System.”
“As the demand for liver transplantation exceeds the supply, there is a real need to pursue more innovative approaches to solve this problem,” says Editor-in-Chief Jane Taylor, PhD, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. “The article described here demonstrates a significant step towards achieving this goal.”
Bioengineering the Liver: Scale Up and Cool Chain Delivery of the Liver Cell Biomass for Clinical Targeting in a Bioartificial Liver Support System, Eloy Erro, James Bundy, Isobel Massie, Sherri-Ann Chalmers, Aude Gautier, Spyridon Gerontas, Mike Hoare, Peter Sharratt, Sarah Choudhury, Marcin Lubowiecki, Ian Llewellyn, Cécile Legallais, Barry Fuller, Humphrey Hodgson, and Clare Selden. BioResearch Open Access, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/biores.2012.0286