In Vitro Technologies has been awarded US Patent 7,351,584, “Hepatocyte bioreactor system for long term culture of functional hepatocyte spheroids.”
The inventors listed on the patent are Paul Silber, Nancy Cowger, Ana Miller, Lanika Brown, and Albert Li.
According to the abstract, a rotating wall vessel is used as a culture vessel and bioreactor for the cultivation of spheroid hepatocytes that retain many properties of the intact liver. These properties include enzyme activity comparable to fresh cells and long-term maintenance of viability and cellular function for periods as long as several months. The cultured cells may be used to produce hepatocyte products, evaluate the metabolism of potential drug candidates, propagate the hepatitis C virus, and test candidate compounds as inhibitors of this virus.