A scientist in Southern China’s city of Guangzhou has created a ground-breaking technique for human organ transplantation, which could radically change the surgical method of organ transplantation as it is practised today.
Human organ transplantation was performed for the first time 63 years ago in recorded history. Ever since, over one million people’s lives have been saved by such surgeries.
The current transplantation procedure involves three steps. First, it entails extracting the organ - a liver or heart - out of the donor’s body. Second, the organ is then preserved in cold storage at very low temperatures. And finally, it is transplanted into the recipient’s body.
While the prevalent surgical procedure has been well developed over the years, it is still not considered a very efficient method by many experts.
“Every step of traditional transplantation surgery causes damage to the organ. If we have a 100% functioning liver ready for transplantation, the functionality is reduced to 20% by the time the organ is transplanted. That means the recipient bears sever risks even after the surgery, ” Professor He Xiaoshun from the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University in Southern China’s Guangzhou told CGTN.
Prof. He Xiaoshun, vice-president of the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University. /CGTN photo
Five years ago, Professor He decided to develop a more efficient method of transplantation surgery that would avoid the damages to organs. And on July 23, he performed the first transplantation surgery with continuous blood supply to the organ in the world.
“This new surgery makes every step of the transplantation seamlessly connected, which means the organ will not suffer even one second of blood loss in the whole process,” said Professor He, adding that in this way the recipient will get a nearly 100% functioning fresh organ that can completely avoid ischemia and reperfusion injuries.
What's more, the multi-function organ repairing system used in the surgery can even repair the organs being transplanted.
The multi-function organ repairing system invented by Professor He and his team can even repair the organs being transplanted. /CGTN photo
“For example, the GPT index, an important indicator measuring transplantation surgeries, could easily reach in the range of hundreds or even thousands after the surgery in many cases. But in our second surgery, the index was only 28 which is very healthy,” he said referring to the July 23 surgery.
Professor He is now trying to conduct more surgeries to further enrich his new method. At present, it is only being used for liver transplantations, but the ground-breaking method holds great potential for transplantation of hearts, kidneys and lungs in the near future.