Capital Health First in N.J. to Participate in Important Clinical Trial for Bio-Artificial Therapy for Liver Failure Patients

Pennington, NJ (December 16, 2013) – The Capital Health Center for Digestive Health today announced that its Center for Liver Disease is the first in N.J. to participate in a pivotal clinical study testing the benefit of ELAD® bio-artificial cellular therapy in patients with acute liver failure.

“We are very pleased to participate in this important clinical trial. The ELAD system is intended to help patients restore their own liver function and, in some cases, avoid increased demand for organ transplant, an option hampered by a shortage of donor organs and post-operative complications,” says Dr. Santiago Munoz, director, Capital Health Center for Liver Disease. ELAD is being developed by Vital Therapies, Inc., a biotherapeutics company based in San Diego, CA.

“Our recruitment of elite medical experts like Dr. Munoz enables us to increase the breadth of advanced medical treatments as well as clinical trials that we can offer patients in this region so they don’t have to travel out of state to receive this level of care,” said Al Maghazehe, president and CEO, Capital Health.

ELAD is a bio-artificial liver therapy that is designed to allow the patient’s own liver to regenerate to a healthier state, or stabilize health until a transplant is possible. Capital Health is involved in the Phase 3 clinical study, focused on investigating the benefits and risks of ELAD in acute liver failure patients with alcohol-induced liver decompensation.

Acute liver failure represents a serious unmet need affecting at least 30,000 patients in the United States every year. Except for liver transplant, standard-of-care treatment for acute liver failure focuses on management of disease complications and does not restore liver function. In previous trials, ELAD showed trends indicating the potential to increase survival rates in patients with acute liver failure. Prior to the initiation of the ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial program, more than 150 subjects received ELAD therapy in seven clinical trials.

Enrollment is now open for this phase of the ELAD trial at Capital Health Center for Liver Disease. For more information, call 609-537-5000.

Full study details can be found at

About Dr. Santiago Munoz

A fellowship-trained transplant hepatologist, Dr. Munoz specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of liver diseases, including a focus on liver failure patients. Prior to joining Capital Health, Dr. Munoz developed and led some of the foremost liver transplant programs in the Philadelphia area, including Jefferson, Einstein and Temple. He is widely published and author of over 200 peer-reviewed papers, monographs, book chapters and editorials. Dr. Munoz is also a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on topics of liver disease.

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