China / Society

Patient responds to new liver treatment

By ZHOU WENTING (China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-23 14:26

Chinese scientists have developed a bioartificial liver system that can prolong the survival of pigs with acute liver failure, indicating a promising clinical application for humans facing a comparable life-threatening illness.

In the first human application of the device, a woman in her 60s who has had hepatitis B for more than four decades and was recently diagnosed with liver failure received the treatment earlier this month.

"After using the bioartificial liver device, her liver function recovered well and she is no longer critical," said Hui Lijian, head of a group of scientists at the Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, a branch of the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The case, reported by doctors at the Drum Tower Hospital affiliated with the Medical School of Nanjing University, "can be regarded as a firm stride forward in the clinical application of such a bioartificial liver system", Hui said.

The cell-based bioartificial liver system can give patients more time to wait for a transplant and facilitate liver regeneration by providing metabolic detoxification and synthetic functions.

"The system can prolong patient survival, but cannot cure them of the disease, for which the only remedy so far is liver transplantation," Hui said.

A paper about their research findings on large animals was published on the website of Cell Research, a China-based international scientific journal.

The research was conducted by scientists from the Drum Tower Hospital, the Center for Drug Safety Evaluation and Research under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and East China University of Science and Technology.

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