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GRACE ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT OF DEVICE TO TREAT LIVER FAILURE

 BOCA RATON, Fla., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- W. R. Grace & Co. (NYSE: GRA), in collaboration with Rhode Island Hospital, today announced it is developing a liver-assist device (LAD) for short-term treatment of acute and chronic liver failure.
 The liver-assist device is a hollow fiber membrane cartridge packed with pig liver cells. The patient's blood is circulated through the device to temporarily replace vital biological functions lost through liver failure. The device utilizes a specially developed medical membrane fiber that is one of Grace's core technologies. Similar membranes are used in kidney dialyzers employed in treating in excess of 30,000 patients in more than 400 dialysis centers operated throughout the world by National Medical Care, a Grace subsidiary.
 An estimated 35,000 people, including many patients awaiting liver transplants, die each year in the U.S. from chronic liver disorders. The liver-assist device is intended to serve as a temporary bridge, stabilizing the patient until a donor liver is available for transplantation. Grace believes the device could also save the lives of many people afflicted with reversible, acute liver failure caused by drug abuse, viral hepatitis or trauma injuries. Later stages of acute liver failure have a mortality rate of about 80 percent.
 Dr. Barry A. Solomon, vice president of biomedical and biotechnology research at Grace's Research Division in Lexington, Mass., said, "We are encouraged by the results from recent trials on animals with liver failure. These trials have demonstrated statistically significant improvements in survival rates and the absence of immune rejection of liver cells obtained from another animal species, without the need to resort to anti-rejection drugs."
 The Grace LAD has entered its final phase of preclinical testing, including the performance of rigorous safety studies to certify the device and pig cells for human use. Completion of these tests will be followed by submission of data to the Food and Drug Administration requesting approval for human clinical trials.
 In developing the LAD and other biomedical therapies, Grace relies on the guidance of leading researchers and clinicians in the U.S. and abroad.
 Grace is the world's largest specialty chemicals company with a leadership position in health care.
 -0- 12/11/92
 /CONTACT: Chuck Suits of W. R. Grace, 407-362-2600 or 800-GRACE99/
 (GRA)


CO: W. R. Grace & Co.; Rhode Island Hospital ST: Florida IN: HEA SU: JVN PDT

AW -- FL001 -- 6119 12/11/92 09:23 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 13, 1992
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