Bio Artificial Organs (liver, kidney)
Introduction
A combination of need and costs has driven leading edge researchers to focus on the development of replacement organs. In the U.S., a kidney transplant can cost $100,000, a liver transplant $250,000, and a heart transplant $860,000. In 1982, the Jarvik-7 allowed a heart patient to survive for 112 days. Since that time, artificial organs have become a reality.

The search for replacements for the vital organs that support life, such as the liver, kidney and heart, represent the "Holy Grail." Each year over 30,000 patients are waiting for a liver transplant, 4,000 for a heart and 10,000 for kidneys.

Artificial Liver
Each year, over 25,000 patients die waiting for a liver transplant. This fact, combined with the increases in hepatitis cases, has lead researchers to describe the development of an extracorporeal liver assist device (ELAD) as the holy grail of liver transplants.

Currently, there are two devices being studied that are intended as a bridge until a liver transplant can be performed. These include the MARS and the ELADŽ systems. . It is designed to filter out toxins from the blood while sparing compounds such as albumin. When approved it will function as a bridge to transplant, allowing a patient's condition to improve until a transplant is possible. The major advantage of the ELAD system is it is capable of producing liver serum proteins along with removing metabolic wastes.The ultimate goal of the ELAD system is to eventually be an implantable device that will mimic liver functions.

Artificial Kidney
End stage renal failure is treated with a dialyzer or a dialysis machine. The clinical drawback is these are support systems that cannot support human kidney function permanently. Patients are also tethered to a dialysis device for about 12 hours each day, two to three times per week. Another disadvantage is cost. The total annual cost of dialysis in the U.S. is more than $11 billion per year. This is an estimated $45,000 to $50,000 cost per person per year.Hospitalized patients with acute kidney failure have a mortality rate of 50%

The bio artificial kidney takes the bridge concept further. It not only filters out waste products but can also recognize critical components that the body needs, such as electrolytes, salt, glucose, water, and immune system molecules called cytokines.The technology is based on growing renal cells in hollow fiber systems. This will enable the device to provide the metabolic, endocrine, and immunologic functions of the kidney.

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