hepalife bioreactor artificial liver


HepaLife, a company out of Boston developing an artificial liver, has announced the latest positive results of tests of its proprietary PICM-19 cells inside the bioreactor that would, if it becomes a real product, function as an external liver.
In recent tests, HepaLife’s bioartificial liver reduced levels of toxic ammonia by 75% in fewer than 24 hours, a feature considered necessary to the successful treatment of acute liver failure using an artificial liver.

According to researchers, biochemical improvement as a result of an artificial liver device treatment in clinical application is judged not only by the elimination of ammonia, but also by the production of urea. Importantly, HepaLife’s PICM-19 cells synthesized 80% of the ammonia present into urea, the normal pathway of ammonia reduction of the human liver. HepaLife’s PICM-19 cell line is the only known liver stem cell line of its kind with this ability to produce substantial amount of urea.

During these same tests HepaLife’s PICM-19 liver stem cells inside the Company’s bioartificial liver maintained differentiated hepatic (liver) function, showing typical hepatocyte morphology -- the characteristics representative of human liver cells -- including cell features such as intercellular canaliculi, extensive Golgi apparatus, endoplasmic reticulum, peroxisomes and mitochondria.

“The performance of our bioartificial liver device is exciting. The rate of ammonia reduction achieved mainly via the natural urea cycle is an important step towards successful clinical application,” continued Mr. Menzler. “Furthermore, the ability of our cells to produce substantial amounts of urea while maintaining liver-like function, and preserving liver cell-like characteristics, all clearly establish the superior performance of our PICM-19 cell line inside our bioartificial liver.”

Intended for the treatment of liver failure, the HepaLife™ Bioartificial Liver device consists of three basic components: (1) a plasma filter, separating the patients blood into blood plasma and blood cells; (2) the bioreactor, a unit filled with the patented PICM-19 liver stem cell line which biologically mimics the liver’s function; and (3), the HepaDrive™, a perfusion system for pumping the patient's plasma through the bioreactor while controlling gas supply and temperature for best possible performance of the cells.