By Yonatan Sredni - March 24, 2016
Originally appeared here in NoCamels
When transplanting donated organs, time is of the essence. Transplantation stands the best chance to succeed when performed as quickly as possible after the donor surgery. A heart or lung is kept viable for transplantation for only six hours before deterioration begins. A pancreas or liver go to waste after 12 hours in storage, and a kidney can be kept outside the body for less than 30 hours.
Keep cool, not frozen
One of the main problems standing in the way of storing organs for more than a few hours is ice growth. When organs are frozen, expanding ice crystals damage the cells in a way that they cannot be revived. Therefore, organs which are removed from a donor are kept cooled but not frozen.
A Hebrew University team led by Prof. Ido Braslavsky is now contributing significantly to the effort to perfect the process of preserving cells, tissues and organs in sub-zero temperatures. This would enable long-term banking of tissues and organs and efficient matching between donor and patient, eventually saving the lives of millions of people around the world. Read More