Scientists are working on new ways to keep donated organs viable without the use of extreme cold.
The liver is the second most transplanted organ after the kidney. Photo: Shutterstock.
The transplant Organ harvesting is a very complicated medical procedure. The organ must be compatible with the receiverand the process also includes moving a living organ from the donor to the recipient and keeping the organ in good condition until surgery.
The traditional method of moving organs for: transplant means that they are kept at a very low temperature. However, this process has a time limit and can damage organ tissues.
For this reason, scientists are working on new ways to keep donated organs viable without the use of extreme cold.
One such group is the Liver4Life research team in Zurich, Switzerland, which used a perfusion machine to keep a human liver alive for three days. Doctors then implanted the liver in a human patient, who is now, one year after surgery, doing well.
Traditional organ transplant
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, more than 41,000 transplants took place in 2021 in the United States† The liver it is the second most commonly transplanted organ after the kidney.
Every 9 minutes a person is placed on a waiting list for: transplant of organs. Although UNOS reports that the percentage of people donating their organs has increased, there is still a shortage of available organs. And every day an average of 17 people die waiting for a… transplant of organs.
Different organs can be kept in cold storage for different periods of time before their tissues begin to break down. For example, a heart’s cold ischemia time is 4 to 6 hours, while a kidney is much longer, from 24 to 36 hours. The liver It can be kept cold for 8 to 12 hours.
Taking into account liver† Research Previous studies show that a prolonged period of cold ischemia Liver transplant† others Research found that cold ischemia time prolongs the patient’s hospital stay afterward transplant†
What is a perfusion machine?
Researchers are studying perfusion machines as an alternative method of storing organs outside the body. The machine mimics the functions of the body’s heart and lungs, pumping blood and oxygen to the organ.
In addition, medical professionals deliver a cocktail of hormones and nutrients to the organ, just as the intestines and pancreas would receive in the body.
Prof. dr. Pierre-Alain Clavien, President of the Visceral Surgery Department and Transplant from the University Hospital of Zurich (USZ), Switzerland, and lead author of this study, He said the perfusion machine keeps a liver graft, not for a few hours, but for several days.
“This makes it possible to Liver transplant from emergency surgery to elective,’ he explained. “Secondly, that extended time on the perfusion machine allows for in-depth treatment of the liver for the transplantwhich was not possible until now.
“There are many ways in which the perfusion machine can be used,” adds Prof. Clavien. “The main goal is to treat patients by giving them a good graft or even a segment of liver regenerated for autotransplantation after treatment. [También es] The opportunity this platform offers for toxicology studies without the need to test on humans is very interesting.”
Looking to the future
As for the next steps in this new technology, Professor Clavien said his team is currently planning a multicenter clinical trial for the transplant from grafting of liver long-term storage in your IV device.
He also thinks that the perfusion machine technology could one day be used for other organs. “This technology is theoretically suitable for all transplanted organs today, although some adjustments to the circuit would have to be made,” explains Clavien.
“We are also particularly interested in renal and uterine perfusion, which has already been shown to be feasible in our preclinical experiments,” he added.
MNT also spoke with Dr. Robert S. Brown, Jr., the Vincent Astor Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and hepatology of Weill Cornell Medicine, about this study.
Said mechanical organ perfusion has enormous potential to increase the number of organs available transplant†
“These long run times really do offer an opportunity to take an organ that would work, but nobody trusts it to work, and it increases confidence that it would work. And a future ability to maybe even manipulate the organ with drugs or… […] a future gene therapy to then take non-transplantable organs and make them transplantable.
“This can have a huge impact on the patient in terms of: increasing access to organs by making more organs available for transplantation and increasing organ quality by taking previously non-transplantable organs and making them transplantable or marginally transplantable organs and turning them into good organs,” added Prof. Brown.
“I would see this as an exciting proof-of-concept that needs further validation, but if it gets validated, it would be a big step forward.”
Source consulted here.
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