Thursday, January 03, 2008

have heart, will travel

organ transplants are a rather messy feature of modern medicine -- the donor organs can only be stored very briefly on ice, and they may not reach the patients who need them on time or in a reasonable condition.

Researchers are now developing devices that keep donor organs alive in physiological conditions, so they can be kept for longer and can be tested for their functionality before being implanted. Devices for hearts and kidneys are already available, but the big challenge, and the area where such a device could save many lives, is the liver. I've written a feature article about this work which is in the January issue of Chemistry World:

Portable organs
A combination of medical research and engineering could bring an end to the era of putting precious human organs on ice to keep them alive for longer.
... but sadly with restricted access. Should work from university libraries, though.

Oxford research towards the "portable liver" is also discussed in my earlier feature for Oxford Today.

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