Developed by Vital Therapies, the ELAD has completed a number of clinical trials and is undergoing more. Similar to a dialysis machine used as a replacement for the compromised kidneys of a person with renal failure, the ELAD is designed to take over for a patient’s diseased or otherwise compromised liver until a replacement can be found and a transplant performed. Mimicking liver function, the machine filters toxins, nutrients, and metabolites from the patient’s plasma through four cartridges that also measure temperature and pH and oxygen levels.
The ELAD uses Vital Therapies’ proprietary VTL C3A cell bank, which is filled with immortal liver-derived cells that can be shipped and stored worldwide. Because the cell banks are all derived from a single source rather than the patient’s own cells, the process is simplified and relatively cost-effective.