The first patient in an international trial of a new liver dialysis system has been recruited at the Royal Free Hospital in London, UK.
The device, called DIALIVE, was invented by scientists and doctors at University College London (UCL) and Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.
The principles behind DIALIVE are based on recent advances in the understanding of the mechanisms underlying liver failure, a condition that affects some 200,000-300,000 people every year across Europe.
The patient group treated in this trial has a greater than 25% chance of death within a 28-day period if they do not undergo a liver transplant.
24 patients will be included in the first phase, which is aimed at establishing DIALIVE’s safety and performance. The trails are being conducted at seven centres across Europe, including London, Birmingham, Nottingham, and Edinburgh in the UK; Rostock in Germany; Paris, France; and Madrid, Spain.
A second trial that plans to enrol more than 100 patients across Europe is already being designed. That study is scheduled to begin in 2018 and will include patients at another 18 widely distributed European referral hospitals for liver diseases that are part of the European Foundation for the Study of Chronic Liver Failure (EF-Clif) consortium of hospitals.
Professor Rajiv Jalan, the co-ordinator of the ALIVER project and an inventor of DIALIVE at UCL, said: “Many patients with liver failure are relatively well until the time they present to the hospital.
“Within a matter of 28-days, about 25% of these patients will die with multi organ failure. Given the huge regeneration potential of the liver, many can recover.
“DIALIVE removes toxins that accumulates in liver failure to prevent inflammation. It has the potential to allow the liver to regenerate.”
Jalan added: “The Horizon 2020 EU grant and the collaboration with the leaders in the field will allow us to further develop DIALIVE for benefit of liver failure patients”.