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ELADS, the Latest in Artificial Livers The largest solid organ in your body is the liver and it juggles an array of functions to keep you healthy. Yet liver disease is on the rise in America affecting one out of ten people.

For decades, scientists have been trying to develop an artificial liver or an extracorporeal liver assist device, ELAD for short.

It could temporarily substitute for a person's liver until a transplant. Or, it could help someone avoid a transplant by giving the damaged liver time to recover and regenerate.

Developing an ELAD has been challenging because the liver is such a complex organ. It filters the blood to metabolize and remove chemicals such as toxins, waste products and drugs.

It's involved in digestion, blood clotting, stores vitamins and maintains a proper level of glucose in the blood.

Recently, an ELAD capable of treating patients was finally developed although it is still in clinical trials. This breakthrough technology uses actual human liver cells to do the job.

The cells are placed in multiple cartridges and as the patient's blood is run through the device, the cells metabolize toxins and synthesize proteins and other liver specific products essential for life.

In clinical trials the FDA is evaluating if 3-10 days of using this new device can improve a patient's 30 day survival when compared to standard therapy.

Early experiments in a small number of patients in China revealed 85% of those using ELAD survived in the short term compared to only 50% using standard treatment.

US studies have begun, but it's too early to say if the device is safe and effective. Every year nearly 28 thousand people in America die from liver disease and less than six thousand people receive transplants. That leaves many who would benefit from an ELAD.

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For more information…

The announcement of the development of an Extracorporeal Assist Device (ELAD) using human liver cells was announced in Medical News Today and IHE-online.

Information about a phase 2 clinical trial of a commercial ELAD can be obtained at here. The sites at which the trials are being done, eligibility requirements and contact information is provided.

Medline Plus is a medical encyclopedia that will direct you to information to help answer health questions. MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies and health-related organizations. MedlinePlus also has extensive information about drugs, an illustrated medical encyclopedia, interactive patient tutorials, and latest health news. This is suitable for both professionals and non-medical professionals. They have an extensive site on diseases of the liver here and if you use the MedlinePlus search engine, you can find information of a variety of liver diseases and treatments.


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