The Need

The numbers speak for themselves

  • 4.5 million people
    in the US are living with a diagnosed liver disease1
  • Over 13,000 people
    in the US are currently on the organ transplant wait list for a liver1
  • Approximately 7,000 people
    will receive liver transplants each year1
  • Patients waited from 3 to 4 years
    for deceased donor liver transplant for A and O blood types from 2011-20141
  • Over 400 children
    under the age of 18 are currently on the waitlist for a liver1

A healthy liver has many important functions in the body. However, repeated damage to the liver caused by genetic or environmental factors can create fibrosis (scarring) which can impede the liver’s ability to function properly. When the scarring becomes severe (cirrhosis) it can lead to the liver function deteriorating almost entirely, also known as end-stage liver disease or ESLD. Once someone is in ESLD, the only curative treatment option currently available is transplantation.

Despite the hope that transplantation can offer, only a portion of people on the waitlist will ever receive a liver transplant. Over 2,000 people every year are either too sick to survive the transplantation surgery or die before an acceptable donor is ever found. The number of organ donors each year is drastically outweighed by the number of potential recipients, creating a desperate need for alternate therapies and tools to advance current treatments for liver disease.  The greatest need for innovation in these areas is a consistent source of high-quality human hepatocytes. Artificial liver assist devices, gene therapy, new medications and other alternative treatments require hepatocytes for research, proof of concept, and even for functionality.

1 – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Data – Organ Procurement and Transplant Network. (2019). Retrieved 28 October 2019, from https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data