There are many problems surrounding livers.  The liver is a very important part of the body as it regulates glucose levels, detoxifies, makes vital proteins and does many more important things for our body.  If the liver does not function properly you could be put in a life-threatening situation. While you are able to live with part of a liver and it can grow back to full size, no liver no life.

 

Unfortunately for us, the liver is a very important part of the body we can’t live without and it seems to come with a number of potential diseases/problems.  Hepatitis being a big one. Hepatitis causes the liver to be inflamed and depending on what kind of hepatitis you have, it may lead to death. While Hepatitis is usually caused by the viruses  Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, it can also be caused by drinking, drugs, allergic reactions and obesity.

 

Fortunately for us, artificial organs are becoming our new best friends.  The TECA hybrid artificial liver support system “combines the hollow fiber bioreactor with a plasma exchange circuit.” (SAGE Journals, 2019).  It was one of the liver support systems used to test treating severe hepatitis patients. The bioreactor of the system includes many “porcine hepatocytes and a plasma exchange device.” (SAGE Journals, 2019).  Porcine meaning resembling a pig and hepatocytes are cells that make up most of the liver. The reasoning for using pig hepatocyte cells is because pigs and humans have very similar structures, sizes and functions when it comes to hearts and livers.  Fifteen patients were treated by this and experienced “a reduction in symptoms such as fatigue, abdominal distension, or” (SAGE Journals, 2019) ascites (accumulation of fluid in the membrane lining the cavity of the abdomen and abdominal organs).

 

Human Liver:

 

Pig Liver:

 

Another liver support system being looked into is the ELAD bioartificial liver support system.  It is a cell based system made for “patients with acute liver failure, often a fatal diagnosis.” (Researchers Testing Artificial Liver as Potential Therapy for Patients with Alcohol-Related Organ Failure, 2019).  This external bioartificial liver “is designed to perform critical functions of a normal liver, including protein synthesis and the processing and cleaning of a patient’s blood,” (Researchers Testing Artificial Liver as Potential Therapy for Patients with Alcohol-Related Organ Failure, 2019) while patient’s wait for their own livers to repair it self (this system also promotes the regeneration of your liver) or wait for a transplant.  How it works is “blood is drawn from the patient via a central venous line, and then filtered through a component system featuring four tubes, each one foot long, which are embedded with liver cells.” (Researchers Testing Artificial Liver as Potential Therapy for Patients with Alcohol-Related Organ Failure, 2019).

 

ELAD Bioartificial Liver Support System:

 

So do not fear if you get Hepatitis, just get an external hybrid/bioartificial liver support system.  

 

For my next round, I am going to be looking into either artificial hearts or artificial pancreases.

 

Bibliography:

  1. SAGE Journals. (2019). Study of Severe Hepatitis Treated with a Hybrid Artificial Liver Support System - Y. Qian, L. Lanjuan, H. Jianrong, L. Jun, C. Hongcui, F. Suzhen, Y. Xia, Y. Shuhong, 2003. [online] Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/d...7/039139880302600609 [Accessed 24 May 2019].
  2. Researchers Testing Artificial Liver as Potential Therapy for Patients with Alcohol-Related Organ Failure. (2019). Researchers Testing Artificial Liver as Potential Therapy for Patients with Alcohol-Related Organ Failure. [online] Available at: https://www.cedars-sinai.org/n...lated-organ-failure/ [Accessed 25 May 2019].
  3. WebMD. (2019). The Liver (Human Anatomy): Liver Picture, Definition, Function, Conditions, Tests, and Treatments. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/digestiv...cture-of-the-liver#1 [Accessed 27 May 2019].
  4. Dictionary.com. (2019). Dictionary.com - The world’s favorite online dictionary!. [online] Available at: https://www.dictionary.com/ [Accessed 27 May 2019].
  5. Upload.wikimedia.org. (2019). [online] Available at: https://upload.wikimedia.org/w...6/6f/Human_Hepar.jpg [Accessed 27 May 2019].
  6.  D2gg9evh47fn9z.cloudfront.net. (2019). [online] Available at: https://d2gg9evh47fn9z.cloudfr...COLOURBOX4867334.jpg [Accessed 27 May 2019].



Original Post

Hey Haley!

Great post on artificial liver support systems! Usually, when I hear about organ transplants, I automatically think about hearts and our other vital organs - like the liver - get overlooked; so, I think your post was very informative. It was really interesting to read about the different support systems. However, it might be beneficial to also include some other information about these systems such as the price, in what countries they are available, and the success they have seen thus far. These external factors may give us, as readers, a better idea of how practical the support systems are. Just a suggestion!

Here are some sources that may be of use to you for your upcoming research:
https://www.fda.gov/medical-de...ncreas-device-system

https://tcoyd.org/2018/02/the-...and-whens-it-coming/

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/heal...tal-artificial-heart\

Great job and good luck!

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