14:49 19 March 2013
In what could be considered as a major breakthrough in the field of medicine, an engineer and a transplant surgeon have invented a machine that keeps liver “alive” outside of the body so they’ll be less prone to damage before transplant procedures.
Prof Constantin Coussios of the Department of Engineering Science has been working on the project for 15 years in partnership with Prof Peter Friend, of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences.
After the liver is removed from the donor, it is placed in the machine where it will receive oxygen and nutrition.
Prof Peter Friend told the BBC: “It provides an environment where the donor liver hardly knows it has left the body. Instead of cooling it to slow its metabolism we keep it functioning at normal temperature and with oxygen and nutrition."
At present, several donor livers are rejected for transplantation because they are too damaged. Some do not survive the cooling process while others were deprived of oxygen. With the new machine, the livers can be preserved longer making the transplant surgeries more effective.
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