First Clinical Use of a Novel Bioartificial Liver Support System (BLSS)

Authors


  • Partial support for this study was provided by Excorp Medical, Inc., Oakdale, MN, USA.

Abstract

The first clinical use of the Excorp Medical Bioartificial Liver Support System (BLSS) in support of a 41-year-old African-American female with fulminant hepatic failure is described. The BLSS is currently in a Phase I/II safety evaluation at the University of Pittsburgh/UPMC System. Inclusion criteria for the study are patients with acute liver failure, any etiology, presenting with encephalopathy deteriorating beyond Parson's Grade 2. The BLSS consists of a blood pump; a heat exchanger to control blood temperature; an oxygenator to control oxygenation and pH; a bioreactor; and associated pressure and flow alarm systems. Patient liver support is provided by 70–100 g of porcine liver cells housed in the hollow fiber bioreactor. The patient exhibited transient hypotension and thrombocytopenia at initiation of perfusion. The only unanticipated safety event was a lowering of patient glucose level at the onset of perfusion with the BLSS that was treatable with intravenous glucose administration. Moderate changes in blood biochemistries pre- and post perfusion are indicative of liver support being provided by the BLSS. While the initial experience with the BLSS is encouraging, completion of the Phase I/II study is required in order to more fully understand the safety aspects of the BLSS.

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