A Medical Device Daily

HepaLife Technologies (Boston) reported "favorable" test results of its proprietary bioreactor system, the main mechanical component of an artificial liver device, which successfully replicated the human liver's key function — removal of toxic ammonia and synthesis of urea.

In early tests of the bioreactor, HepaLife's PICM-19 liver cells were seeded inside the system. Over a 14-day period, the PICM-19 cells remained contact-inhibited, the company calling that an important indicator of normal cell growth. The cells further differentiated into hepatocytes (liver cells) with normal structure and morphology.

Most importantly, Hepalife said, the bioreactor and PICM-19 cell line system was able to remove toxic ammonia and synthesize urea, "vital to successfully replicating the human liver's function in an artificial liver device."

HepaLife's artificial liver device is designed to operate outside the patient's body. The machine mimics functions of the human liver by circulating the patient's blood inside the artificial liver device where it is exposed to HepaLife's patented PICM-19 liver cells inside the bioreactor unit.

Once inside the bioreactor unit, researchers anticipate HepaLife's artificial liver device will process the patient's blood-plasma using the company's PICM-19 liver cells, removing toxins, enhancing metabolic function, and ultimately, imitating the liver's function. Conventional filtration or dialysis systems rely on mechanical methods, limited to merely filtering toxins from the blood, HepaLife says, in contrast to its biological stragegy.

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