Researchers develop a technique that uses iron nanoparticles to rewarm the vitrified organs for use when needed without any damage

A research team from Minnesota(UM) has discovered a breakthrough process to rewarm the animal heart and blood vessels that were stored at lower temperatures. The new method is a major step in saving millions of human lives who die due to lack of organs from transplantation. According to the university of Minnesota, about 60% of the organs like heart and lungs donated for transplantation has to be disposed of ever year as they cannot be stored on the ice for more than 4 hours.

Currently, cryopreservation methods like vitrification, wherein the organs are stored at ultralow temperatures such as - 160 and -196 degrees celsius are used. But the main problem with this method arises during the rewarming process of the tissue/Organ as the heat gets distributed unevenly over the tissue/Organ leading to damages and cracks of the organs. 
According to UM researchers, through current methods, it is possible to heat only 1 volume of tissue. But the new process discovered by the researchers facilitates to heat samples up to 80 ml and heats them at the rate of more than130 degrees celsius per minute.

Research Methodology

In the current method researchers employed silica-coated Iron oxide nanoparticles that are dispersed along with cryoprotectant solution used for storing the tissue.These nanoparticles act as tiny heaters and are activated by electromagnetic waves and heat the tissue uniformly at the rate of 100-200 degree celsius per minute. 
The researchers showed the success of this technique on fibroblasts and on pig arteries and heart tissue. They were also able to wash away the nanoparticles from the sample after warming without any damage. Future research will involve testing the method on organs of smaller animals like rats and rabbit and move to pig organs.If it is successful the method would be extended to human organs.

The Research work is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine

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