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Artificial liver may extend lives
Date:6/2/2009

NEW YORK (May 26, 2009) -- The first artificial organ for liver patients that uses immortalized human liver cells, the Extracorporeal Liver Assist Device, or ELAD, is a bedside system that treats blood plasma, metabolizing toxins and synthesizing proteins just like a real liver does.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center is currently one of only a small number of hospitals in the U.S. offering this therapy to acute liver failure patients as part of ongoing clinical trials.

"These studies are looking at how well the system can extend patients' lives until a liver transplant becomes available. We're also interested to see if it can relieve the burden on the patient's liver enough so that it can regenerate and regain some of its function," says Dr. Robert Brown, site principal investigator, chief of the Division of Abdominal Organ Transplantation, and director of the Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Brown is also the Frank Cardile Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics (in Surgery) at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The ongoing studies look at whether ELAD liver support improves survival compared with standard medical therapy. Patients are randomly assigned to receive either standard medical therapy plus the ELAD system, or standard medical therapy alone. Patients eligible for the study have life-threatening acute liver failure, often due to an infection. Another trial open to patients with liver failure due to drug overdose without underlying liver disease is expected to begin enrollment later this year.

The current trials expand on prior results from Phase 1 and 2 trials in the U.S. and U.K., and a pivotal, randomized, controlled clinical trial at two sites in China during 2006 and 2007. In the latter study, 69 patients with hepatitis B or C who had suffered ALF were treated with either ELAD o
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Contact: Belinda Mager
bem9048@nyp.org
212-305-5587
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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