A world first: Human liver was treated in a machine and then
The Liver4Life research has developed a perfusion machine that makes it possible to implant a human organ into a patient after a storage period of three days outside a body. The machine mimics the human body as accurately as possible, in order to provide ideal conditions for human livers. A pump serves as a replacement heart, an oxygenator replaces the lungs and a dialysis unit performs the functions of the kidneys. In addition, numerous hormone and nutrient infusions perform the functions of the intestine and pancreas.

Like the diaphragm in the human body, the machine also moves the liver to the rhythm of human breathing. In January 2020, the multidisciplinary Zurich research team—involving the collaboration of University Hospital Zurich (USZ), ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich (UZH)—demonstrated for the first time that perfusion technology makes it possible to store a liver outside the body for several days.

The team prepared the liver in the machine with various drugs. In this way, it was possible to transform the liver into a good human organ, even though it was originally not approved for transplantation due to its poor quality. The multi-day perfusion—the mechanical circulation of the organ—enables antibiotic or hormonal therapies or the optimization of liver metabolism, for example. In addition, lengthy laboratory or tissue tests can be carried out without time pressure. Under normal circumstances, this is not possible because organs can only be stored for 12 hours if they are stored conventionally on ice and in commercially available perfusion machines.

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41587-022-01354-7