New 'supercooling' storage technique may increase number of liver transplants

A new "supercooling" technique extends the amount of time a liver can be stored outside of a body to a day and a half, according to New Scientist.

Currently about 14,000 U.S. patients are waiting for a liver. This technique could increase the number of liver transplants and could also be used on other organs to help mitigate the nationwide shortage of organs available for transplant.

The technique works by connecting the liver to a machine that perfuses it with chemicals to lower the freezing point to negative 4 degrees celsius, making it the first time human organs can safely be stored at sub-zero temperatures. Air is then removed from the storage bag to avoid ice crystals forming.

The technique could also be used on hearts and kidneys, according to New Scientist, but would be more difficult on lungs since they're filled with air.

Read the full report here.

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