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Times of India
29 February 2012

British scientists claim to have developed a machine which could keep donor livers ‘alive’ outside human body.

A team at Oxford University says the machine, known as METRA which would keep livers healthy during transportation from donor to the operating table, could help save the lives of many people who need liver transplants every year.

Livers taken from organ donors are currently packed in ice for up to 12 hours to prevent them from decay while they are transported, but this technique can affect the blood vessels and cause excess fat on the organ to solidify. In other cases the livers fail because of the damage caused to them during the transplant process.

The new machine keeps the liver in a solution at body temperature and feeds it with blood, oxygen and nutrients, the Daily Mail reported. The scientists say the machines uses a technique which 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.

The machine, developed by Organox 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.

Peter Friend, director of the Oxford Transplant Centre, said, “Decisions on usability are made purely on visual judgement. That is all surgeons have at the moment. That is why this machine is so useful.” PTI

‘Bad breath chemical to help create liver cells’ Achemical that causes bad breath can be used to convert dental stem cells into human liver cells, a finding which could help repair the key organ if damaged. Researchers at the Nippon Dental University, Japan found that Hydrogen sulphide — the gas which generates the stench in stink bombs, flatulence and bad breath — can be harnessed to create liver cells which could be a valuable for treatment .

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