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Bioartificial Liver with Hepatocytes Treats Liver Failure

Technology #89145

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Scott Nyberg, MD PhD
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Frank Cerra, MD
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Wei-Shou Hu, PhD
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Matthew Scholz
Russell Shatford, MD
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Kevin Anderson
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-8293
Patent Protection
US Patent 5,605,835
US Patent 5,981,211
US Patent 5,595,909

Bioartificial Liver Uses Hepatocytes to Mimic Liver Function

A bioreactor and bioartificial liver system has been developed that grows hepatocytes in a gel matrix to allow nutrients to adequately reach the hepatocytes. The bioreactor can maintain the cells indefinitely, while concurrently allowing the use of the hepatocyte cells in the treatment of acute liver failure. The use of hepatocytes in the bioartificial liver allows it to mimic the function of a healthy liver and allow recovery of the patient’s liver.

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  • 1.5% royalty after $1 million in product sales. 1.0% for MN companies.

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Liver Failure and Liver Replacement Systems

A bioartificial liver that uses hepatocytes more accurately mimics liver function and more effectively treats liver failure. Between 2010 and 2011, the CDC found that death rates from liver failure increased by 3.2%. There is a clear need for the development of better treatment for liver failure. Treatments typically involve intensive care unit support or liver transplants. While other technologies have gained some support, such as liver dialysis systems, they rely on albumin and do not adequately mimic the functions of a healthy liver. Studies have shown that a successful bioartificial liver device could reduce liver failure mortality rates by roughly 50%. A need exists for a device that uses hepatocyte cells to mimic liver function, thus allowing the patient’s liver to heal on its own.


  • Bioartificial liver maintains metabolic and detoxification functions of a normal liver
  • Facilitation of hepatocyte growth
  • Lifespan of hepatocytes in bioreactor is indefinite
  • Adequate flow of nutrients can reach hepatocytes
  • Invention can accommodate other types of mammalian cells as well