News ID: 188693
Published: 0154 GMT March 04, 2017

Frozen organs, blood vessels could be reheated with new technology

Frozen organs, blood vessels could be reheated with new technology

Nanotechnology could help overcome a major hurdle in the storage of donor organs, according to research.

Scientists say they have found a way to re-warm blood vessels and heart valves that have been cryogenically frozen, without causing damage to the tissue, reported.

If the discovery can be scaled up, it would provide a major advance in the preservation of donor hearts and lungs, up to two-thirds of which have to be discarded due to the limitations of current technology.

According to some estimates, eliminating this waste could bring an end to waiting lists for these organs within two years.

A team at the University of Minnesota tested its method on samples that had been treated with silica-coated iron nanoparticles and vitrified at minus 160°C — preserving them in a glass-like state.

Radio waves were then used to excite the nanoparticles, enabling the tissue to be defrosted evenly without causing it to crack.

Publishing their findings in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the researchers dubbed the technique ‘nanowarming’ and said it may provide a notable contribution to regenerative medicine.

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