BEACON TRANSCRIPT – On Tuesday, medical experts revealed that they were now one step closer towards using frozen or cryopreserved tissues and organs for transplants. Such a medical advance might soon solve the problem of insufficient organs needed for transplants.
So far, scientists have been able to cool organs at incredibly low temperature and succeed in preserving them. However, they have not been able to defreeze the organs without altering their tissues.
Thus, researchers from the University of Minnesota came up with a solution to this problem. They found a new heating method that uses iron oxide nanoparticles. These nanoparticles surround the frozen organs and act like heaters when they are activated by a magnetic field.
With this method, researchers have been able to warm the valves and tissues in some animal hearts without causing any alteration or harm to the fragile tissues. This might be the first step towards making tissue banking become a reality.
Why is this such a revolutionary discovery? Think that, every year, more than 60 percent of heart and lungs that have been donated need to be thrown away since they can only resist for four hours on ice before deteriorating.
In a previous research, scientists succeeded in reheating only one milliliter of tissue. The new study involved arteries and heart valves that have been reheated in 50 milliliter vials.
John Bischof, one of the main authors of the study and a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Minnesota, declared that they could reheat the tissues at really rapid rates and they could still preserve their functionality. They discovered no sign of damage on the reheated tissues and they washed away the nanoparticles, preparing the organs for use.
Bischof revealed more about their next research. They are currently working on a study in which they want to reheat frozen rabbit kidneys using 80 milliliter vials. He is optimistic about their technology and thinks they will soon be able to test it on bigger organs.
However, they still need several years until the technology is optimized perfectly for use on human organs. The more important steps have been taken and the researchers think that a better preservation of human organs will soon be possible, thanks to this new heating method.
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