I am not a medical expert or even remotely tied to that field but don't livers regrow to some extent? If this process could be extended even further wouldn't that mean we could regrow complete livers from partial donations pretty soon, making the whole "waiting for a donor" gamble obsolete?
> The seven-day successful perfusion of poor-quality livers now allows for a wide range of strategies, e.g. repair of preexisting injury, cleaning of fat deposits in the liver or even regeneration of partial livers.
I think I read recently (don't know where, not looking it up) that the liver can regrow in the sense that it is made of lobes, and you can lose a lobe and the others will expand to restore full function.
But the lobes themselves don't regenerate, so it's not a thing that can be done more than a time or two.
No expert either, but afaik you can divide livers into thirds and they will regrow. So when you transplant a liver you take two thirds from the donor, I assume to give the recipient more liver to work with, but I don't know why.
a plastic surgery to build in Klingon like capabilities - take the piece of the liver like for transplant and transplant it into the other side of the body, and after some time for regrow the person would just have 2 full livers.
I'm not an expert but that won't stop me from guessing why!
Perhaps it would be far easier for the donor to regrow the majority of their own liver in their own body than it would be for the recipient, given the immune response and other factors that I would imagine complicate a transplant.
You hit the nail on the head. The tech needs to be extended more than a week without massive necrosis (which occurred in 4/10 livers in the study). I think that's something the authors of the Nature paper needed to have measured more of continuously (on top of the ATP production, BUN clearance, etc). Not sure which markers, to be honest, but there should be a decent range of apoptotic factors that can be sampled.
Unfortunately most liver cancer is metastases from elsewhere, and once its in the liver, its likely to have spread to other organs as well, so this will not affect prognosis as you say until the cancer itself is treated.
Based on the experiences of a friend & close family member & what the doctors said: when your liver stops functioning, you will have about six weeks to live. The prognosis schedule was pretty much spot-on in both cases,and the last week has much less useful consciousness. Since the first few weeks are not really debilitating, I'd wager that one week without a liver to re-implant a repaired organ should be a good plan.
Out of curiosity: Amanita poison I thought mostly attacked the liver and leads to death in much less than 6 weeks (more like a few days, maybe a week). So I assume the 6 weeks means massive effort in the ER to stabilize the patient without liver, maybe some advanced blood filtering?
Both the ones I knew were in hospice and not a huge intervention for the six weeks, so not a tone of continuing intervention.
I'd guess that liver failure is maybe defined not as 100% failure, but failure to keep up with daily demand due to an external impairment such as cancer, and that this is just a typical curve of declining function until the body becomes too poisoned to survive.
Anybody with more detailed real bio/medical information?
My medical education is congruent with your thoughts. Liver failure is defined as partial or complete loss of function. You're also right about the "too poisoned to survive" aka end-stage liver disease. People in this stage often die from too much toxin build up, infection, or bleeding. Your explanation is great.
I've always been amazed how livers can regenerate. But I recall reading the new liver is not a perfect copy there's some loss of function. I tried to find out what it was that I read but I can't find anything about it.
I'm wondering if this will be a good test bed for keeping other organs alive outside the body. As far as I know, the liver is the most robust organ and so makes a natural starting point for this kind of work.
This one will probably take decades to get in a useful state.
For head (or other organ) artificial alive-keeping we still don't know enough about how they work - and in case of especially the head we don't have the adequate technology yet to properly reconnect the neurons.
It might be that we can do this sooner than keeping the full head alive though, given that there is way more investment in such research to help people with spinal injuries regain motor control.
It's more complicated than "only" blood. The hormones and other signalling chemicals involved in the brain-body communication are not really figured out - we don't even know what hormonal balance is "normal" and treat mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia with a "shotgun" approach - shoot a lot of loads and see which one has an effect.