21 chemical mixture solution preserve donated organ upto week before transplant Harvard University research

New chemical solution to preserve organs

9:46 AM, 21st February 2014
Harvard University Senior Cardiovascular Surgeon Hemant Thatte
Hemant Thatte, Senior Cardiovascular Surgeon, Harvard University.

MUMBAI, INDIA: Hemant Thatte, Senior Cardiovascular Surgeon, Harvard University could well revolutionize the world of organ transplants. He has worked out a mixture of 21-chemical solution that could preserve a donated organ for up to a week before a transplant.

“Preliminary studies have shown that hearts stored in SOMAH solution (as the new preservative is called) for 24 hours can be resuscitated without medicines as against other solutions that allow for only four hours,” said Dr Thatte via email to Times Of India. In studies conducted on pigs, the solution has been effective in preserving tissues for up to a week.

Organs retrieved from brain-dead persons are stored for a few hours before being transported to various departments or hospitals for transplant. At present, hearts and lungs need to be transplanted within 4-6 hours of being recovered from a brain-dead donor, the liver within eight hours and kidneys within a little more than 24 hours.

SOMAH (the Sanskrit name for the elixir of immortality) can preserve organs long enough to be transported across a large country or half-way across the globe. “Current technologies require that organs from cadaver donors be transplanted within a small window of 4-6 hours. If the transplant surgery cannot take place within that time, the available organ cannot be used. Moreover, the available organs cannot be transported long-distance for transplant and have to be made available locally. The use of SOMAH expands that small window to seven days,”' added Thatte.

Dr Thatte believes Somah’s biggest advantage is that it can be used at room temperatures. “If we physicians can maintain an organ in the same energy status it was used to before being retrieved, the organ is in a better state when transplanted. It can get into rhythm sooner,” he added.

Over a decade ago, he synthesized a solution called GALA that could preserve blood vessels used as bypass channels during heart surgeries. GALA is in use across the US and France. SOMAH is still a year or more away from clinical trial. Experts are, however, sceptical about its week-long claim.

© TimesOfIndia News

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