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The broad, long-term objective of the research program of Scott L. Nyberg, M.D., Ph.D., is to develop a cell-based extracorporeal bioartificial liver that can support people with acute and chronic forms of liver failure.

A new form of therapy, the bioartificial liver is designed to be used prior to liver transplantation, until recovery of the native liver or as a chronic supportive therapy. As with hemodialysis, the bioartificial liver operates extracorporeally, but is unique because it contains metabolically active liver cells — hepatocytes — that perform liver functions for the patient.