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UPMC Reports On New Liver Assist Device

rials in our patients," added George V. Mazariegos, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute.

The UPMC study presented results on an animal model of acute liver failure, comparing the performance of the Excorp device against standard treatment. The animals were divided into three treatment groups, one receiving standard intensive care attention, and the remaining two groups being placed on the bio-artificial liver assist device at either 16-18 hours or 24-26 hours after liver failure was initiated.

The report indicated survival times in the groups treated with the Excorp device could be extended. These results suggest that the bio-artificial liver assist device does in fact have a marked effect on the course of acute liver failure. The intercranial pressure also improved in the treated animals.

The anticipated phase I human trials of the device would have the primary aim of ensuring the safety of the device for human use. The researchers would monitor the clinical stability of patients, their neurological status, and development of infection. Researchers also hope to gain insight about the device's impact on treating liver failure, although a second trial would need to be conducted to thoroughly study its treatment efficacy.

"We are very encouraged by these preliminary findings," commented Dr. Mazariegos. "The need for some type of bridging device between liver recovery or transplantation is intense. This bio-artificial liver assist device may someday help the thousands of liver failure patients whose options are limited."

Acute liver failure can be caused by poisonous mushrooms, reactions to Tylenol toxicity, or as a result of a virus. There are currently more than 10,000 patients awaiting liver transplants in the United States. Less than five percent of the approximately
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Contact: Lisa Rossi
RossiL@a1.isd.upmc.edu
(412) 624-2607
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
23-Apr-1998


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