Frequently Asked Questions

Answering Your Cytotheryx Questions

Our work is advancing biomedical research by way of high-quality, consistent, and readily available primary human hepatocytes. Learn more about what we do with the following frequently asked questions.

From what primary human hepatocytes are and why they are important to the biomedical research community, to the ins and outs of liver disease, we want to increase awareness and understanding of the research and development being done in the liver disease space. We’ve compiled the most common and relevant questions we receive about our work in support of that goal. If your questions are not answered here, please feel free to contact us.

Hepatocytes are a type of cell that makes up the majority of the liver. These cells are responsible for liver functions such as metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids, detoxification, and the storage and synthesis of proteins. Primary hepatocytes are cells derived directly from the liver tissue, as opposed to hepatocyte-like cells that are derived from other cells, like stem cells. Primary human hepatocytes are the ideal cell types for a variety of research and clinical applications.
Human hepatocytes, and specifically primary human hepatocytes, are the cells used most commonly in toxicity, metabolism, and drug interaction research. Primary human hepatocytes are considered the “gold standard” for a variety of research applications, including safety and toxicity testing during preclinical drug development and the advancement of disease-specific research. As Cytotheryx makes this valuable resource more available, additional applications in both research and therapeutics will become possible.
Human hepatocytes can only grow and replicate within a living system, making them challenging to source for research and therapeutic applications. If primary human hepatocytes are required for scientific development, such as preclinical drug discovery or disease research, they must currently be sourced from whole livers or resected liver tissue from organ donors. The current model of sourcing leads to inconsistencies in quality across cells, as well as a limited quantity of available cells. Cytotheryx’ model will increase consistency and availability of primary human hepatocytes for drug discovery, research, therapeutic development, and beyond.

According to the American Liver Foundation, over 100 million people in the U.S. have liver disease in some form, whether or not they have been diagnosed. Approximately 1.8% of the population of adults in the U.S., or 4.5 million people, have been diagnosed with liver disease. Liver disease, if left untreated, can lead to negative outcomes such as liver cancer, liver failure, or even death. Over 50,000 adults die from liver disease in the U.S. annually.

There are numerous causes of liver disease and, ultimately, liver failure. Mayo Clinic lists common causes of acute liver failure as undiagnosed or untreated viral infections, such as hepatitis infections, misuse or abuse of certain drugs or toxins, including acetaminophen, and metabolic or vascular disorders. Additional causes may include alcohol misuse or abuse and non-alcohol related fatty liver disease.

Currently, the only curative treatment for liver failure is a liver transplant. However, the inadequate supply of healthy, transplantable livers limits opportunities for thousands of people to receive liver transplants annually. Depending on the severity of the liver disease, alternative treatments may be available. For example, some liver diseases may be treated with lifestyle modifications, such as stopping alcohol use or through weight loss, while others may be treated with medication. Even with these available treatments, more than 50,000 people in the U.S. die annually because of advanced liver disease

Currently, the supply of primary human hepatocytes is limited because cell preparations are derived from whole livers from organ donors. When these cells become available, they are often inconsistent and costly, and the number of cells is limited by the size and health of the donated liver. All of these factors can inhibit research and development over time. Cytotheryx’ primary human hepatocytes are more consistent and more readily available than alternatives. With our bio-incubators, we are able to develop and replicate dependable, high-quality cells over time, for more consistent sourcing, utilization, and results.

Over 4.5 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with liver disease, and treatment options for liver disease are limited. While recommended lifestyle changes and therapeutics do exist as treatment options, the only current curative option as liver disease progresses into liver failure is organ transplantation. Hepatocytes have been shown to be valuable in therapeutic applications, such as the treatment of liver failure, through an external liver assist device or through direct cellular therapy. However, a clinically safe and consistent source of those cells does not exist. This unmet need limits the potential of therapeutic applications significantly. With a clinically safe, consistent, and high-quality source of liver cells, additional therapeutics could be developed and advanced for the treatment of liver disease, liver failure and rare diseases.