Rochester, MN (KROC AM News)  - Mayo Clinic researchers are preparing for human testing of a Bioartificial liver that could offer hope to some of the thousands of people who die each year from liver disease.

The results of a study published in the Journal of Hepatology show the device and process developed by Doctor Scott Nyberg and other Mayo researchers can support healing and regeneration of an injured liver, which might allow some patients with acute liver failure to avoid a liver transplant.

The Spheroid Reservoir Bioartificial Liver uses liver cells from pigs to perform the work of the patient’s liver as the patient’s blood is pumped through the device. In preclinical studies using pigs, the bioartificial liver successfully reduced the severity of liver disease and improved survival.

The Mayo team hopes to begin testing the new therapy on humans next year.

The American Liver Foundation estimates that 30,000-40,000 people die from liver disease every year.

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