The molecular adsorbents recycling system as a liver support system based on albumin dialysis: a summary of preclinical investigations, prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trial, and clinical experience from 19 centers

Artif Organs. 2002 Feb;26(2):103-10. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1594.2002.06822.x.


Artificial liver support aims to prolong survival time of patients with liver failure by detoxification. Albumin as a molecular adsorbent in dialysis solution is capable of attracting even tightly albumin-bound toxins from blood into the dialysate if a specific dialysis membrane is used and if the albumin's binding sites are on-line-purified by a sorbent/dialysis-based recycling system (i.e., molecular adsorbents recycling system, or MARS). The MARS technology has been shown to remove water-soluble and albumin-bound toxins and to provide renal support in case of renal failure. Fourteen centers have reported that MARS treatment improved mental status of patients with liver failure and hepatic encephalopathy. In treating liver failure and cholestasis, MARS was associated with hemodynamic stabilization, improvement of hepatic and kidney function, and disappearance of pruritus. In hepatic failure and hepatorenal syndrome, a prospective, randomized, controlled trial of MARS treatment was able to prolong survival time significantly. MARS has been used in 26 patients with acute liver failure or primary graft dysfunction. Nineteen centers reporting on 103 patients have shown that MARS treatment is safe, easy to handle, feasible, and effective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Albumins
  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dialysis
  • Humans
  • Liver Failure / therapy*
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Liver, Artificial*
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Prospective Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sorption Detoxification*


  • Albumins
  • Membranes, Artificial