Surgical Liver Therapy


Minimal + Non Invasive


Extracorporeal Liver Support


Pharmaceutical Liver Therapy

Extracorporeal Liver Support Therapy

The potential market opportunity for an artificial liver keeps players in the game, even though many companies have tried and failed in the past. Devices designed for patients with liver failure range from blood filters that remove toxins, to more complex biologic systems that use liver cells to replicate the organ's processes outside the body. Beyond the obvious scientific challenges, firms face potential manufacturing and marketing difficulties as well. US-based Global Industry Analysts, belive that global demand for artificial liver support systems was $2.795 billion in 2010, second only to artificial kidney support and more than double the expected $1.31 billion artificial heart market. This might be optimistic but that an "artificial liver" is a huge need in the market of hepatology is no question.

Most bioartificial liver support systems today are hybrids that also have filtration/dialysis capability. The bioreactor is the central component, which contains active liver cells. A membrane of hollowfiber capillaries was the general concept, but a variety of other configurations is used in newer systems. This membrane separates the patient's (blood) plasma from the cells of the bioreactor, but allows the transport of toxins. Liver cells in the reactor take in oxygen and nutrients, and return metabolic byproducts to the plasma and even might help in detoxification.

There are several studies on bioartificial liver support systems. However it is difficult to judge which part of the effects comes from the liver cells and which from the filtration/dialysis. Seeing only the organisatorical difficulties like FDA-requirements, logistic of the living cell reactors etc. it seems doubtful to have this concept marketed in near future.

However, there is a huge market for these applications: Global demand for artificial liver systems is expected to rise to $2.795 billion in 2010, second only to artificial kidney support and more than double the expected $1.31 billion artificial heart market.

An "artificial liver" seems to be impossible if you want to mimic all abilities of the liver, including full synthesis and imunological function. On the other hand to support the liver and to take over detoxification for some time seems to be quite possible.

Additionally to the basic technique of Plasma Exchange(PE), there are two major directions for extracorporel liver support therapy.

Liver Dialysis

Liver dialysis is focusing on the critical issue of the clinical syndrome in liver failure, the accumulation of toxic substances not cleared by the failing liver. There are quite promising results for some indications. However two products actively marketed by larger companies seem to have stalled in the development.
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Bioartificial Liver Therapy

Bioartificial Liver Therapy tries to come nearer to the "artificial liver" by using liver cells but struggles with the logistic problems.
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Liver Therapy in the Future

While intermittent therapy with an extracorporeal liver support system is reality today, the challenge for future liver therapy will be long term liver support for chronic liver patients with impaired liver function. 30 years ago nobody would have believed the success of kidney dialysis today.

Contact us regarding "Extracorporeal Liver Support Therapy"
or call Tilo Stolzke at +49 451 400 83 01 directly.

Extracorporeal Liver Support Therapy in Hepatology

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