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October 6, 1975

Medical News

JAMA. 1975;234(1):9-20. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260140011001

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Laboratory-grown liver system could carry patient through crisis  An artificial liver that uses rat hepatoma cells— which have the ability to take up, conjugate, and excrete bilirubin—is undergoing testing in New York.The system was developed by Carl F. W. Wolf, MD, associate investigator at the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute of the New York Blood Center and assistant professor of pathology at Cornell University Medical College.In an interview with MEDICAL NEWS, Dr Wolf explained that "the main use of the artificial liver is to tide someone over an acute period of liver dysfunction... until the liver cells regenerate." Although the device could be used for long-term support, it would be expensive because, unlike kidney machines, which are manufactured, the liver system must be grown in a laboratory on capillaries made of hollow, semipermeable fibers.The use of natural cells offers the advantage of starting with a system