With the continued, growing disparity between the numbers of organ donations and patients waiting for liver transplantation, various efforts have been made to optimize the allocation of organs, as well as to devise means to support the failing liver. Over the years, the development of bioartificial liver-assist devices has aimed at replacing the three main functions of hepatocytes, which are synthetic, metabolic, and excretory. The application of porcine hepatocytes in humans to carry out biotransformation, as well as other metabolic functions and refinement of the membrane separator, have yielded some promising results in supporting patients with acute liver failure. Further advances will need to be made before these bioartificial devices can be considered for routine application in clinical settings.
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View details for PubMedID 9509251