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In the United States of America, researchers are able to donate blood from pig livers  Sciences

In the United States of America, researchers are able to donate blood from pig livers Sciences

Whether in Brazil or the USA, the long waiting list for organ transplants is a harsh reality. Therefore, science is working to find other ways to save lives. One of the most studied methods is organ transplantation, which includes different types. Pigs can be great allies in this sense.

In new research, scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have obtained encouraging results. On January 18, the team announced that they had successfully donated human blood to a pig liver outside the animal's body.

The study was made possible by a donor family seeking to help other families through advancements in scientific research. During the experimental procedure, which was carried out in December, the donor's blood circulation and breathing were preserved after tests showed that he was brain dead and his organs were not suitable for donation to third parties.

The donor's own liver was kept, while the pig's liver was connected to the body via blood-carrying tubes to evaluate its ability to serve as a perfusion vehicle.

According to the researchers, the pig's liver showed no signs of hepatitis during 72 hours of observation, while the donor's body remained physiologically stable. The team says the initial results – which will be followed by refining the procedure in three more deceased donors – are promising for those with liver disease.

“Whenever a patient dies while waiting for a transplant, it is a tragedy, and we are always developing new ways to prolong their life,” says Abraham Shaked, who led the study. In the current situation. “The success of the first part of our study is significant for those with liver failure, as it offers a glimpse into a future where innovative solutions can bring hope to patients who might otherwise die while waiting for an organ transplant.”

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Understand the experience

This technique, called extracorporeal perfusion, involves circulating a patient's blood through the liver of a genetically modified pig using an extracorporeal liver cross-circulation (ELC) device.

The pig organ was genetically modified to prevent rejection and improve compatibility with humans, based on the results of a previous study conducted on pig kidneys.

In the next steps, the researchers intend to apply the method to deceased donors whose livers were removed, to determine the feasibility, safety and effectiveness of using a porcine liver perfusion system.

They also hope to evaluate the approach in patients whose livers can recover from injury, similar to the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for people with severe heart and lung disease.

“This major breakthrough brings us closer to a future where we can offer effective treatments for acute liver decompensation,” says Peter Friend, MD, medical director of OrganOx, the company that produces the extracorporeal hepatic circulation device used in the study. “Our system, combined with a genetically engineered liver, combines state-of-the-art organ perfusion technology with whole-liver functionality, a potentially powerful and life-saving combination.”