Scientists have revived some organs in dead pigs: what are the implications?

Scientists have revived some organs in dead pigs: what are the implications? ...

Many people are saved lives by an organ donation, but waiting times can be extremely long on average 20 people die each day waiting for an organ.

doctors transplanted 129,681 organs in 2020 according to the Global Observatory for Donation and Transplantation, although some of them were from living donors, but 36,125 deceased donors contributed to the total.

Through organ donation, one deceased donor may save up to eight lives.

Death can be determined in two ways: When all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem, stop irreversibly, but the heart may still be beating, and circulatory death occurs when the heart has permanently stopped beating.

Organs begin to swell as the heart stops beating, and blood vessels collapse, blocking blood flow. Organs are becoming unfit for transplant due to oxidation.

A Yale University graduate student has developed a technique that would keep organs in place for longer periods.

They developed a specially-designed fluid that restored circulation and other cell functions in pigs one hour after their deaths.

These promising and encouraging research highlight the resilience of biological systems to regain function even after death by anoxia (absence of oxygenation). The findings reveal the possibility to develop new strategies of conserving valuable tissue and organs from deceased donors even after prolonged periods of loss of circulation and oxygenation.

Professor of Surgery, Division of Transplantation, University of Rochester Medical Center Dr. Roberto Hernandez-Alejandro

The OrganEx system

Following their deaths, the researchers had developed a system to restore microcirculation and molecular and cellular functions to an intact pigs brain.

This system BrainEx employed a perfusion system to deliver a fluid that facilitates recovery from anoxia, reduces reperfusion injury, prevents edema, and metabolically supports the brain's energy needs.

OrganEx is a variation of this system. A heart-long machine, or cardiopulmonary bypass, is injected with a specially designed liquid that contains animals blood, anticoagulants, and other compounds that suppress inflammation and promote cellular health through the pigs body.

Some pigs received either an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a technique used to provide oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from their bodies as a control.

Cellular functions have been restarted.

The fish colonies were sprayed and anesthetized before cardiac arrest was induced, then kept anesthetized throughout the experiment.

Researchers began perfusing the experiment with the OrganEx system one hour later, after experiencing cardiac arrest.

Six hours after the OrganEx treatment began, researchers discovered that cell functions had restarted in many areas of the pigs bodies. They did not notice these same effects in control animals.

The researchers performed a repurpose of circulation throughout the whole body using OrganEx treated pigs. Several organ function was restored in the heart, liver, and kidneys, although they also observed spontaneous movements in these pigs, indicating that some motor functions were preserved.

Dr. William Kessler, a board certified cardiothoracic surgeon with Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery and Surgical Director of Cardiac Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support at Ascension Seton in Austin, Texas, told Medical News Today that this research was taking organ revival to the next level:

They have infused a unique solution, formed of several components, through a circulatory system into the bodies of deceased pigs, and evidence of improved organ function than they did in comparison to the standard ECMO.

Potential to transform

The technology may have several applications, including prolonging the life of organs and increasing the amount of organs available for transplants.

The authors emphasize the ethical issues in this area, but are prudent not to overstate the importance of their findings.

Further optimization and expansion of our technology will be necessary to fully understand its broader effects on ischaemic tissues and recovery. Although the in vivo findings below demonstrate promise to bridge gaps between basic research on ischemia and transplantation medicine or clinical resuscitation science, they conclude.

Despite the fact that Dr. Kessler believes this technology is a step forward.

Regardless of the outcome, these researchers are assisting in pushing the boundaries in transplantation and possibly even in the preservation of organ function in viable patients with end-organ damage, according to him.

You may also like: