New machine offers better preservation of livers during transport
Scientists have created a machine which can keep donor livers functioning outside the body. The breakthrough – a British first – could save the lives of hundreds of people needing liver transplants every year. Livers taken from organ donors are currently packed in ice for up to 12 hours to prevent them from damage while they are transported, but this technique can affect the functioning of the liver.
The new machine will help livers remain healthy during transportation. It will keep the liver in a solution at body temperature and provide it with oxygen and nutrients. The technique allows doctors to monitor how well the organ functions and means livers can be stored for far longer – up to 24 hours – before being transplanted. Known as METRA, the machine was originally used on pig livers but a recent trial found that out of 13 human livers discarded by doctors, six would have been good enough to be transplanted. The machine was developed by Organox, a company linked to Oxford University which was set up by Professor Peter Friend, director of the Oxford Transplant Centre. He said, “The results show the machine can keep a donor liver healthy as if it is still in the human body. You also can see if it is functioning well enough for transplant.” Surgeon David Mayer, liver lead for NHS Blood and Transplant, described the research as “extremely exciting”. He said, “If this machine comes into use then it will almost certainly increase the number of livers we can transplant.” Further trials involving patients are set to be approved later this year.
- Copyright © 2021. Published by MOHAN Foundation
- Keywords: Better Preservation machine, Liver Transplant