By Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, January 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Researchers report that they have developed a machine that can repair injured livers and keep them alive outside the body for up to a week.
They said the machine could one day increase the amount of livers available for transplantation and save the lives of many people with severe liver disease or cancer.
Until now, it was only possible to store livers safely outside the body for a few hours.
But this new technology, a complex perfusion system that supplies blood to injured livers, can extend the safe storage of livers outside the body for up to seven days and offers a wide range of possibilities, including liver injury repair, cleaning of fatty deposits in the liver, and even the regeneration of partial livers, according to researchers at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.
Injured livers from dead donors are not suitable for transplantation, but the study authors said this machine can restore the full function of these organs after several days.
"The success of this unique perfusion system, developed over a period of four years by a group of surgeons, biologists and engineers, paves the way for many new applications in transplants and anti-cancer drugs that help patients without liver grafts available, "investigated Dr. Pierre-Alain Clavien said in a press release from the university. He is president of the Department of Visceral Surgery and Transplantation of the University Hospital of Zurich.
An initial study of the technology showed that 6 out of 10 poor quality human livers that were rejected for transplantation by all centers in Europe recovered to full function within a week of infusion into the machine.
The next step will be to use these organs for transplantation.
The research was published on January 13 in the magazine. Biotechnology nature.