US researchers have connected a pig liver, outside the body of a brain-dead patient, to filter blood successfully - marking another important step towards treating liver failure and organ transplantation.
The team (pictured), at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, used a genetically engineered pig liver that would not be rejected as foreign by the human immune system and connected it, via tubes, to a deceased donor patient.
The liver was attached outside the body and was able to filter donor blood to the human body for 72 hours without complications, such as liver inflammation.
The promising results will be built on by testing the approach on three more deceased donors, with the hope that it could one day be used to treat people with liver failure who are urgently in need for a transplant.
Abraham Shaked, who led the study, said: “Any time a patient dies while waiting for a transplant, it is a tragedy, and we are always working to develop new ways to extend their lives.”