It's actually an experimental artificial liver that uses transformed human liver cells to replace some of the patient's liver functions. The cells are packed into canisters, between membrane capillaries, so that the patient's plasma can be detoxified.
"We hope in the long run that for patients with reversible liver injury, these devices will serve as a bridge to recovery, or to stabilize liver function while awaiting an organ like kidney dialysis," says Dr. Robert Brown.
"I know I was so incredibly lucky. I thank God and everything. I was so lucky. I came here at the right time, and I was available, I mean eligible for that machine," says Asmita Jani, a liver failure patient.
Unfortunately, just three days after Asmita got her transplant, the manufacturer of the artificial liver suspended the clinical trials because it has run out of funding. Dr. Brown says he hopes to renew testing later, but for now, he says it would be a great help to patients with liver disease if we would all simply sign our donor cards.