Scientists Have Found a Way to Rapidly Thaw Cryopreserved Tissue Without Damage
Researchers have developed an amazing technique that in the future will help to save lives. The technique allows the scientists to rapidly thaw cryopreserved human and pig samples without damaging the tissue. The technique could eventually help get rid of lengthy organ transplant waiting lists. Cryopreservation is the ability to preserve human tissue or pig tissue at liquid nitrogen temperatures for long amounts of time and brings them back without damage, and it's something scientists have been hoping to achieve with large tissue samples and organs for decades. Scientists have wanted to achieve this not just for its life-extending applications but also because the new technology could allow hospitals to safely store organs for long amounts of time.
Currently, there are about 22 people who die in the United States each day while waiting for organ transplants. One of the biggest challenges isn't so much the shortage of organs, but rather it's that the organs cannot stay on the ice for longer than a few hours without being irrevocably damaged. That means that even when there are enough organs donated there' is still the huge problem of finding matching recipients and then getting the organs to them quickly enough. Already it's estimated that more than 60 percent of the heart and lung organs that are donated each year for transplants are thrown away because they can't be kept on ice for more than four hours, and also the organs can't make it to the patients who need them quickly enough. If only half of the discarded organs were transplanted, then it is estimated that wait lists for organs could be extinguished within two to three years says, researchers. A better solution could be the technique of cryopreservation which would keep the tissue stored at temperatures around between -112 to -310 degrees Fahrenheit.
One of the leading techniques for cryopreservation is vitrification a process which involves super-cooling biological samples to a glassy state at around -256 degrees Fahrenheit.Vitrification is already being used on human brains by cryonics companies to include Alcor. It is through vitrification that organs could be stored for years and potentially even longer, which would mean doctors could build up an inventory of available organs and make it easier for anyone who needs a heart or lung to find one right away. But while scientists have managed to get the cooling part down, the problem lies in the thawing process which can cause ice crystals to form and damage tissue, and potentially even crack organ during the thawing process. In the past, researchers have only been able to thaw small tissue samples, but as the tissues get larger, like entire human organs, for example, the current technique of convection which slowly warms over ice, does not work.
The good news is that this may be about to change, with the Minnesota team recently announcing the development of a new technique that will allow them to rapidly rewarm cryogenically treated human tissue and pig samples without damaging any of the delicate frozen tissues. This is the first time anyone has been able to scale up to a larger organ and demonstrate a successful, uniform and fast warming of preserved tissue without damaging any of the tissue. So instead of using convection, the scientific team used nanoparticles to heat the tissues at the same rate all at once, which means that ice crystals can't form, so in turn, they won't get damaged. This trending story is just one of the discoveries you will find on the Science Alert site. On this site all about science, you will find technology, health, environment, space, humans, physics, nature and so much more. **
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