Many different artificial liver support systems (biological and non-biological) have been developed, tested pre-clinically and some have been applied in clinical trials. Based on theoretical considerations a biological artificial liver (BAL) should be preferred above the non-biological ones. However, clinical application of the BAL is still experimental. Here we try to analyze which hurdles have to be taken before the BAL will become standard equipment in the intensive care unit for patients with acute liver failure or acute deterioration of chronic liver disease.
Keywords: Acute liver failure; Bioartificial liver; Cell transplantation; Liver transplantation; Tissue engineering; Xenotransplantation.