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The use of pig liver as an external blood filter in experiments brings promise for individuals suffering from liver failure.
Science

with liver failure The use of pig liver as an external blood filter in experiments brings promise for individuals suffering from liver failure.

The surgeons successfully connected a pig liver to a brain-dead human body and observed it effectively filtering blood. This is a significant advancement towards potentially using this technique in patients with liver failure.

The University of Pennsylvania revealed a new experiment on Thursday, which involves a unique approach to animal-to-human organ transplants. Instead of placing the pig liver inside the recipient’s body, it was used externally as a “bridge” to assist with blood cleansing, similar to how dialysis aids failing kidneys.

Scientists are attempting to revive animal-to-human transplants, also known as xenotransplants, after years of unsuccessful attempts due to the rejection of foreign tissue by human immune systems. This time, they are experimenting with pigs whose organs have been genetically altered to resemble those of humans.

Over the past few years, scientists have performed temporary kidney transplants from genetically modified pigs into brain-dead donors to assess their effectiveness. Additionally, two male patients received heart transplants from pigs, but unfortunately, both passed away within a few months.

The FDA in the US is currently deliberating on the possibility of allowing a limited group of Americans in need of a new organ to participate in demanding research studies involving pig hearts or kidneys.

Certain scientists are considering the possibility of utilizing pig livers as well. Unlike kidneys and hearts, the liver has its own unique intricacies: it purifies blood, eliminates toxins, and generates essential substances for other bodily processes. Presently, approximately 10,000 individuals in the United States are awaiting a liver transplant.

During the Penn experiment, a liver from a genetically modified pig by eGenesis was connected to a device created by OrganOx, which is typically used to preserve human livers before a transplant.

The relatives of the deceased, whose organs were not suitable for donation, permitted the body to be used for research. Machines were used to maintain circulation of the body’s blood.

Last month, an experiment was performed where blood was passed through a pig liver device for 72 hours. According to a statement from the Penn team, the donor’s body remained stable and the pig liver did not show any signs of harm.

Dr. Parsia Vagefi from UT Southwestern Medical Center, who was not involved in the recent experiment but closely follows xenotransplantation research, stated that there has been a lot of effort put into creating liver dialysis machines similar to those used in pig livers years ago. However, with the advancements in genetic techniques today, researchers are able to conduct more advanced experiments.

Vagefi praised the progress made in implementing this combined approach of using a pig and a device, stating that it is a fascinating advancement in striving for improved treatment for liver failure.

Source: theguardian.com