Transplant organs can last longer than expected, paving the way for human transplantation

In 2014, data from the Livestrong Institute showed that animal organs transplantation could not help in the fight against the deadliest form of cancer. More recently, research done at the University of Otago in…

Transplant organs can last longer than expected, paving the way for human transplantation

In 2014, data from the Livestrong Institute showed that animal organs transplantation could not help in the fight against the deadliest form of cancer. More recently, research done at the University of Otago in New Zealand discovered a technology that could be a clinical breakthrough. Braiden Eddy, a doctoral student in the Faculty of Medicine, helped to conduct a human trial on animal organs and one person who died, NBC News reported.

“I was just really intrigued by the achievement of getting these animals functional to be able to get kidney transplants. And then taking them through to see if that happened in a person,” Eddy said.

Despite an initial medical protocol demanding that recipients must donate their organs after death, the Mauna Kea Animal Perfusion Facility performed its first human liver transplants, distributed pigs’ kidneys and even provided 60 mice with livers.

In January, Dr. Mary Wells, a physician and surgeon, performed the transplant on a former smoker, accompanied by Eddy. The nurse aid was legally allowed to operate until she was 72. In the small percentage of cases where a person dies within one year of onset of liver failure, an animal organ has the ability to be transplanted a second time because the protein/cell mismatch is replaced by the human complement with the removed cells still inside.

To prevent organ removal, scientists use compounds that allow the body to “opt out.” However, a negative reaction to the kidney component meant that Wells’ transplanted kidneys were not working correctly and the human organs were not functioning fully. “We found that these organs, once it could accept something, they started getting over this process of exclusion and they seemed to get over that elapse,” she told NBC News.

The trial was recently published in the International Journal of Science. The tissue function for both organs stayed on target, the kidneys were removed from the mouse cadavers and survived well. Now that human kidney transplants are approaching 100 percent success, drug use, alcohol abuse and even cancer would have the greatest to lose from the increased use of this technique.

Read the full story at NBC News.

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