Organ donation breakthrough promised after new tissue warming discovery


Organ recipients must be found within four hours CREDIT: PA
A groundbreaking new method of safely reviving frozen organs promises to save millions of lives by ending the donor shortage crisis, scientists have said.
Researchers have discovered how to successfully rewarm heart valves and blood vessels that had been preserved for a long periods at very low temperatures.
The new technique promises to enable the safe long-term storage of donated organs such as hearts and lungs, more than 60 per cent of which currently have to be discarded because they cannot be kept on ice for more than a few hours.

This is the first time that anyone has been able to scale up to a larger biological system and demonstrate successful, fast, and uniform warmingProfessor John Bischof, University of Minnesota
It means hospitals should be able to create banks of donated organs, to which patients can travel at their convenience, rather than frantically trying to find suitable recipients when a donor dies.

According to recent estimates, if even half of organs that are currently thrown away were successfully transplanted, transplant waiting lists could be eliminated in less than two years. Continue reading