General, Research, Technology

Invented apparatus capable of supporting the vital functions of the liver for a week outside the human body

According to the publication New Atlas, scientists succeededinvent a machine that is able to maintain the liver for a week outside the human body. Moreover, in addition to organ support, the machine allows you to restore liver cells if it was previously damaged as a result of car accidents or other injuries that lead to organ transplants. The device imitates the functions of the human body, which allows the liver to continue its usual work. Researchers hope that in the future, their invention will be able to extend the viability of other organs, not just the liver. The work of a team of scientists from the Swiss Higher Technical School of Zurich, the University of Zurich and the local hospital is published in the journal Nature biotechnology.

This development of scientists will help save hundreds of lives

The liver is the vital gland of the externalsecretion of vertebrates and humans. It plays a huge role in maintaining metabolism and helps to neutralize allergens, poisons, toxins, turning them into harmless, less toxic and easily digestible compounds, provides hormone synthesis and energy needs of the body, participates in blood formation and cholesterol synthesis, etc. Given all the processes described above, on which this organ of the human body works, it is impossible to underestimate the importance of its preservation and restoration.

The liver repair machine looks like this

Researchers responsible for creatingspecial apparatus, has been developing it since 2015. According to scientists in their work, the existing, approved technology for the liver supports its work up to 24 hours, and the procedure of supercooling allowed to extend the time to 27 hours. And these are very large changes in the field of organ transplantation, which must be removed, transported and implanted during potentially long and complex operations.

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How does the apparatus support liver function?

Existing technology works through perfusion,which supports the open and active blood vessels of the liver through blood circulation and body temperature (at 37 degrees) or an oxygen-saturated liquid replacer. A team of researchers from Zurich saw the opportunity to take a simple perfusion and turn it into something more reliable "by developing a perfusion machine that mimics the basic functions of the body, which are crucial for liver health." It turns out that the equipment imitates the natural processes of the body - after the liver is attached to the machine with special tubes, it pumps oxygen-enriched blood through the liver and removes the old one. The pumped blood then passes through a dialysis filter system that cleanses the liver.

Damaged liver on the left; organ restored by perfusion on the right

By the way, on our channel in Yandex.Zen you will find even more interesting materials about the latest achievements of medicine

While working on a study, scientistsconnected to the apparatus ten damaged organs that had previously been deemed unfit for transplantation. Six of them were able to restore their full functionality. Although the transplant has yet to be performed, all six organs are in excellent condition, which is the key to the success of the operation. Having a working prototype and preliminary research results is a very big step for transplantology. So, patients with various liver injuries, including various liver diseases and cancer, will be able to get a chance for recovery, which in the past they might not have.