Liver kept alive outside a body for a week by scientists with perfusion technology | Science and Technology News

Scientists have found a way to keep a liver out of the body alive for a week, which could help people with liver disease or cancer who need a transplant.

:: This article presents images of internal organs.

Announced as a breakthrough, a new device, designed by a team from the University Hospital Zurich (USZ), uses perfusion technology.

The infusion supplies organs or tissues with a liquid, usually treated blood or a blood substitute, by circulating it in the vessels and other channels.

It closely mimics the central functions of the body.

The infusion pumps blood through the vessels of the organ to keep it working. Pic: USZ
The infusion pumps blood through the vessels to keep the liver functioning. Pic: USZ

USZ scientists say that injured livers from corpses that may not have been eligible for transplants can now regain full functionality.

During the investigation, six out of 10 livers that were considered of low quality and that had been perfused with the new technology regained their full function within a week on the machine.

A liver damage before treatment. Pic: USZ
A liver before treatment. Pic: USZ
A newly treated liver that was once damaged. Pic: USZ
A newly treated liver that has been perfused. Pic: USZ

Scientists say the next steps will be to use the technique in organ transplants.

Professor Pierre-Alain Clavien, president of the department of surgery and transplantation of the USZ, said: “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 transplant and cancer medicine that help patients without available liver grafts. “

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