A novel application of the implantable Port-a-Cath (PAC) system is described in the context of cellular transplantation. A silicone catheter was inserted in a collateral branch of the portal vein and connected to a port device positioned subcutaneously on the left thoracic cage. This permanent vascular access allowed iterative intraportal infusions of allogenic hepatocytes without the need of repeated transhepatic catheterization of the portal vein. Using this technique, repeated infusions of cryopreserved and / or fresh hepatocytes were successfully carried out in 3 children with inborn errors of liver metabolism, with the aim of progressively providing a sufficient mass of transplanted liver cells to stabilize the metabolic condition of the patients. We suggest that this technique might also be valuable in pancreatic islet cell transplantation.
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