Published: 14 August 2013 Updated: 11:23, 14 August 2013
Scientists from London have pioneered a technique to speed up the preparation of transplant organs.
The new procedure, which also reduces the rejection risk which is a major danger for patients, has been developed by the University College London Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The “lab-grown” transplants are set to replace traditional donor-to-recipient operations and bring hope to thousands of patients, especially children born with abnormalities. Transplant organs often contain some of the donor’s old cells which means patients need to take special anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives. Until now doctors have used harsh detergents over long periods to cleanse organs and strip them of old cells. But this can damage tissues.
The new method, successfully tested on sheep and rat lungs, uses gentler cleaning agents so organs are ready in hours without damage. The research was funded by Great Ormond Street and has just been published in the journal Biomaterials.