South Korea’s Kangstem Biotech Biomaterials has developed a high-efficiency and high-performance implanted bio-artificial liver with a robust vascular structure, raising hope for patients waiting for lifesaving organ transplant. The research outcome was published in a recent edition of Biomaterials.
Kangstem’s research team took a successful approach in organ vascularization, the biggest hurdle to a bio-artificial liver design, the company’s chief executive Kang Kyung-sun told Maeil Business Newspaper last weekend.
A bio-artificial liver without a blood vessel structure can lead to a blood clot due to an acute immune response but angiogenesis can prevent it to help the liver maintain normal functions, he said.
The research team removed the liver from a mouse with cirrhosis and underwent a decellularization process to clear up impure genetic materials remaining in the liver. Decellularization is an important process because when genetic materials that cause liver disease is transplanted into a tissue, immune cells recognize them as foreign materials, triggering an immune rejection reaction. The company’s bio-artificial liver has no immune rejection reaction following organ transplantation as decellularized scaffolds in the body are used as a new artificial organ. Vascularization to this bio-artificial liver can help it function as a normal liver, according to Kang.
No side effects were confirmed in the implantation of the artificial organ in the mouse, laying the groundwork for transplant in humans. Clinical trials will be required to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the company’s bio-artificial liver, Kang said.
By Kim Byung-ho and Minu Kim
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