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Science. 2002 Feb 8;295(5557):1005-9.

A bioartificial liver--state of the art.

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  • 1Schools of Biosciences and Medicine, University of Birmingham, and Liver and Hepatobiliary Unit, University Hospital Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TH, UK.


End-stage liver disease is treated by liver transplantation, but donor organ shortages remain a serious problem. This has prompted the design of bioartificial liver devices to "bridge" patients until they either recover or receive a liver transplant. In these devices, patient plasma is circulated extracorporeally through a bioreactor that houses liver cells (hepatocytes) sandwiched between artificial plates or capillaries.

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