Waking the dead: American scientists partially revive pig organs

Waking the dead: American scientists partially revive pig organs
Credit: Belga.

A group of American researchers from Yale University has partly revived pig organs an hour after the animal's death, which could lead to more organs being transplanted, the BBC reports.

The researchers explained that once the animal's heart stops beating, their body stops supplying the oxygen and nutrients it needs to survive. This results in organs swelling, blood vessels collapsing and cells dying.

On Thursday, the group of scientists managed to restore the cell function in several pig organs that had been dead for about an hour.

The experiment

To do this, researchers put 100 pigs to sleep before stopping their heartbeat.

After the animals were dead for an hour, they were linked to the OrganEx system, previously used on pigs' brains, and administered the “recovery cocktail.”

After six hours, it appeared that the function in various organs, such as the heart, kidneys and liver, had been partially restored.

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“Things turned out not to be as dead as we expected,” said doctor Zvonimir Vrselja. “This shows that we can initiate cell repair at the molecular level.”

At some point, the pigs’ heads and necks even started to move spontaneously, which could mean that they were regaining their motor skills, but that still needs to be investigated.

It will take a lot of research before the technology can be applied to humans, as organs need to be stored longer before the transplant itself takes place.

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