The d-LIVER project is a highly ambitious project, bringing together some of Europe’s finest researchers and institutes to execute a four-year project which promises a new paradigm for management of organ failure support. Major progress in this field is highly dependent on guidance from the user community combined with interdisciplinary input from fields such as bio-artificial liver support, progenitor cell biology, sensor systems, communication and control, together with biochemistry and engineering.
The approach to the whole project and all sub-projects will be one of application of best practice processes. The project at the top level is broken down into activities relating to a vertically integrated approach taking technologies through the transfer stages into design, manufacture, test and validation of potentially commercially exploitable devices and systems. In addition, processes that maximise the dissemination and exploitation of the extensive knowledge developed through the Scientific and Technical (S&T) progress and the product innovation cycles will be put in place.
The overall methodology of the d-LIVER system can be divided into various separate, yet inter-dependent areas:
- Definition of clinical requirements and end user scenarios
- Development of integrated sensor systems with associated microfluidics and packaging
- Development of model bio-artificial liver support unit and incorporation of closed loop control
- Development of instrumentation hardware
- Development of Liver Patient Management Support system with secure communication standards and protocols
- Benchmarking and validation studies to demonstrate the clinical utility of the d-LIVER system in the remote environment
Independently from these activities, high-risk bio-artificial liver technology based on human progenitor cells will be developed which, if successful, will feed back into the model bio-artificial liver support unit to produce a completely innovative bio-artificial liver.
The d-LIVER project is structured on the basis of these different interdependent areas. As such, the development in each area will draw considerable benefit from the necessary cross-fertilisation between the different disciplines.