A research team from Yale University in the United States has succeeded in developing a new technology capable of restoring blood circulation and repairing damaged cells in pigs an hour after their death, amid optimism about the success in prolonging the life of human organs after death, or excision. in cases of organ donation.
More than 3 years ago, the same team succeeded in creating a special type of generator that could be used to “maintain” the microvasculature in the brains of dead pigs.
The study, published at the time in the journal Nature, had a very large scientific resonance, since the generator called BrianEx was able to support the energy needs of the brain in metabolic terms, and pig brain cells for a full decay against decay protected 4 hours after death, and even the device had the ability to restore structural and functional properties in pig brains.
Repair damaged cells
The same team succeeded in inventing a new technology capable of restoring blood circulation and repairing damaged cells in pigs an hour after their death, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
The lead author of the study, Nenad Sestan, said in a press conference attended by “Al-Sharq” that the new device called “OrganEx” is able to provide a protective fluid for cells specifically designed to to preserve organs and tissues in pigs an hour after their death.
The new technology consists of a device similar to a heart-lung machine and an experimental fluid containing compounds that can promote cellular health and suppress inflammation throughout the pig’s body.
According to the study, the researchers induced cardiac arrest in anesthetized pigs, and the technique was applied to them an hour after death.
And the OrganEx device continued to work for 6 hours, after which scientists found that some important cellular functions were active in many areas of the pig’s body, including the heart, liver and kidneys, and organ functions were restored, for example, scientists have evidence found of electrical activity In the heart it retains its ability to contract.
The scientists were able to restore blood circulation throughout the pig’s body, “which surprised us a lot,” Sestan said.
And when the heart stops beating, the organs begin to swell, which leads to the collapse of blood vessels and obstruction of blood circulation, but the blood circulation was restored, and the organs in the deceased pigs showed their function at the level of cells and tissues, and when scientists examined the organs of the dead pigs under a microscope, it was difficult to distinguish between a healthy organ and one that had been treated with OrganEx technology after death.
The researchers said that OrganEx technology could eventually have many potential applications, including, for example, the possibility of extending the life of organs in human patients, expanding the availability of donor organs for transplantation, and it could also help organs or to treat organs. tissue damaged by ischemia During heart attacks or strokes.
“The device can also help extend the life of human organs after death, which helps the availability of organs from donors, as cells do not die immediately, but gradually in a long-lasting chain of events,” says co-author of the study, David Andrejevic.
“The new device can not only stop the death of cells, but also help restore their vital functions,” he added.
But how was the technique able to restore life to the cells of the organs of the dead pigs? .. “The mechanisms to restore life to the cells remain unknown until now, and therefore more studies are needed to find out the molecular mechanisms.”
In hospitals, doctors use a technique called “membrane oxygenation” to support patients whose hearts have stopped working, a technique that slows cell death in an attempt to save the patient, but scientists in the new study went steps beyond that technology gone, as the new device improves the cellular structure in tissues – including including brain tissue – it also activates genes involved in cellular repair and restores normal cells’ ability to function.
Membrane oxygenation is primarily used as a life-saving intervention for patients with acute heart and lung disease, but there is growing interest in using it to serve organs in people who have not had resuscitation.
Major advances in perfusion techniques—the delivery of blood to organs—may one day increase the chance that doctors will be able to resuscitate patients, and these capabilities make it difficult for surgeons to ethically justify the use of perfusion to restore transplantable organs to patients. hearts or lungs have stopped. This is definitely different with the new technology that doctors can use up to an hour after death.
Revisiting the “Declaration of Death”
But these findings raise many new questions, says Brandan Burnett, a professor of health at the State University of New York, who was not involved in the study, in the journal Nature.
Burnett said: “The new technology makes medical and biological death decisions that need to be reviewed… How can a patient be declared dead whose cells can return to work after a full hour if this technology is applied?”
Burnett believes that the use of OrganEx will be impressively useful in organ donation after the death of the brain stem, explaining: “In this case, the cells die irreversibly and the dead cannot be revived at all, in that case, the new device can used to donate organs. A kiss of life lasts for hours until the organs are safely transferred to those who need them.”
The researchers emphasize the need for rigorous ethical review by scientists and other bioethicists before these technologies are used on humans.
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