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Morgridge ‘Prototype Pathway’ creates new organ transplant technology – WMTV

Posted: Thu 11:48 AM, Nov 10, 2016 |

Updated: Thu 12:21 PM, Nov 10, 2016

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – University of Wisconsin-Madison student engineers have designed a new prototype to transport organs.

The Organ Cooler Project creates a controlled preservation environment for transplanting organs.

Typically just prior to transplantation, an organ is reconstructed and prepared in the operating room. As surgeons prepare the organ, it stays cooled and preserved in a basin on a bed of sterile ice. However, as the ice melts, it exposes the organ to the environment.

The Organ Cooler Project uses preservation solution instead of ice. The design was primarily built by UW-Madison engineering students Reed Bjork, Monse Calixto, Alex Craig, and Annie Yang. The system was built under the guidance of Robert Swader and George Petry in the Morgridge Fab Lab.

“This organ cooler project exemplifies our goal of matching young, talented engineers with experienced staff engineers of the Morgridge Fab Lab on important clinical problems,” says Kevin Eliceiri, Director of the Morgridge Fab Lab and investigator in UW-Madison biomedical engineering.

The new technology could also apply to other advances in organ preservation, including techniques that preserve organs at body temperature. UW Hospital became the first hospital in the country this year to use a new “warm perfusion” technology, which may keep organs healthier longer.

Throughout the Or process, students have played an integral role – including Anneka Littler and Annie Yang, both seniors majoring in biomedical engineering who have been developing the latest iterations of the prototype under support of the BerbeeWalsh Prototype Pathway.

“Not many students can say that they got the opportunity to design, develop, and build a medical device,” Yang says. “You not only learn a lot about the respective medical field but about yourself along the way.”

The project emerges from the same university that invented the “Wisconsin Solution,” a landmark cold-storage solution used worldwide in transplant medicine. Dr. Folkert Belzer and James Southard developed the technology at SMPH in the 1980s.

Copyright 2016: WMTV

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