Key Points 1. The goals of liver support therapy include the following: • To provide detoxification and synthetic function during liver failure. • To remove or reduce the production of proinflammatory cytokines to correct the systemic inflammatory response of liver failure. • To stimulate the regeneration of the injured liver and increase the likelihood of spontaneous recovery. 2. There is a large unmet need for a liver support device because of the shortage of organs for liver transplantation and the risks of major surgery. 3. Liver support devices can be divided into 2 groups: purely mechanical artificial devices and cell-based bioartificial devices. Both provide detoxification, but bioartificial liver devices provide the option of synthetic function and biotransformation activities that are not possible with a purely mechanical device. 4. An abundant high-quality supply of human hepatocytes is not currently available for liver cell therapy. However, such a supply is essential for successful bioartificial liver therapy. Novel options are under development for the unlimited production of high-quality human hepatocytes.
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