According tomedia reports, doctors working on liver transplants need to move quickly, as livers taken from donors usually last only a few hours outside the body. But now, Swiss scientists have invented a machine that will not only keep the liver alive in vitro for a week, but also revitalise the damaged liver, a major breakthrough in the medical community.
The machine has been under development since 2015 and, at the start of the project, the system will allow the removed liver to survive for about 12 hours. The system is an infusion machine that preserves organs to be transplanted by injecting oxygen and nutrients into them, while measuring their function.
Since then, scientists from the University Hospital Zurich, the Federal Institute of Technology zurich, the University of Wales in Zurich and the University of Zurich continue to work to improve the performance of their liver perfusion machines so that they can fully replicate the function of the human body.
Over a four-year period, they integrated many people’s physical functions into the machine, such as automatically controlling blood sugar levels and oxygenation, removing waste and managing red blood cell pressure.
New liver perfusion machine function display
It is understood that the machine through the pig’s liver to carry out hunger development and testing work, the result of the team was able to prove the viability of the organ within a week. The technique was also tested on 10 damaged human livers — all European medical centers considered them unsuitable for transplantation — but after seven days of treatment with the machine, six of the 10 livers were fully functional.
Professor Pierre-Alain Clavien, President of the Surgery and Organ Transplant Department at the University Hospital Zurich, said the successful development of this unique perfusion system paved the way for new applications in transplantation and cancer medicine for patients who do not have access to liver transplants.