Successful organ transplantation is hampered by the short time that organs can be preserved outside the body. Long-term cryopreservation is possible, but when re-warming the organ, cells can be damaged by ice or cracking. MSI PIs John Bischof (professor, Mechanical Engineering; Director, Institute for Engineering in Medicine) and Erik Finger (associate professor, Surgery) and colleagues have published a groundbreaking study that demonstrated a rat-kidney transplant where the organ was rewarmed and its full function restored. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications: Vitrification and nanowarming enable long-term organ cryopreservation and life-sustaining kidney transplantation in a rat model. This research could move us closer to being able to store organs for transplant for longer periods. This could greatly increase the number of organs available for transplant, possibly saving thousands of lives.
A story about this research appears on the College of Science and Engineering website: Researchers perform first successful transplant of functional cryopreserved rat kidney.
Professor Bischof uses MSI resources to support research into thermophysical and biological changes within biomaterials after thermal manipulation. Professor Finger uses MSI to support studies into transplant immunology and organ preservation.