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Researchers discover how to delay the decay of cells and tissue, restore function
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Researchers have found that decay of tissues after death can be halted and cell functions restored based on early experiments in pigs that may eventually help increase the number of transplantable human organs.
Sixty minutes after stopping the heart in the anesthetized animals, Yale researchers were able to restart the circulation using a specialized machine and a synthetic fluid carrying oxygen and other components that promote cellular health and suppress inflammation.
Six hours later, treatment with the so-called OrganEx technology had reduced or corrected some of the damage, such as organ swelling and collapse of blood vessels, that typically results from lack of oxygen when cardiac arrest halts blood flow.
The results show that when the heart stops, the body is "not as dead as we previously assumed," Zvonimir Vrselja of Yale University said at a press briefing. "We were able to show that we can persuade cells not to die."
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Genetic analysis of the tissues suggested that molecular and cellular repair processes had begun once circulation had been restored, the researchers reported on Wednesday in the journal Nature.