A group of US scientists have successfully thawed cryopreserved tissue without damage to the sample, a huge step towards being able to use frozen or preserved tissues in transplantation, according to a new study.
Researchers out of the University of Minnesota have developed a new heating method, using iron oxide nanoparticles which surround frozen tissues, to uniformly warm frozen animal heart valves without causing harm to the tissue.
While cryopreservation of tissue and organs has been possible for some time, thawing the organs and tissue without cracks and fissures forming has been a more difficult task.
“This paper takes the first practical step towards making tissue banking a reality,” Science Translational Medicine editor Caitlin Czajka said. Results from the study were published in Science Translational Medicine this month.
More than 60% of donated hearts and lungs are thrown out each year due to their short lifespan, only viable for up to 4 hours before they begin to deteriorate.
Previous studies have successfully thawed very small amount of tissue – about 1 milliliter – but in the most recent study, researchers were able to reheat arteries and heart valves in 50 milliliter vials.
None of the thawed tissues showed any signs of damage, and the iron nanoparticles used to warm the tissue were able to be washed away, according to the study.
“What we found is we could bring these tissues back at very rapid rates and we were able to maintain the viability and functionality of the tissues,” Bischof told reporters on a telephone briefing, according to Reuters.
Researchers in the study say they have plans to scale up the technology, looking to test it on rabbit kidneys in 80 milliliter vials, with hopes for even larger tests in the future.
Material from Reuters was used in this article.