FILE IMAGE - Pigs at a farm in Lambourn, England, are seen in an undated file image. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images) Researchers at Yale University restored circulation and cellular function in the vital organs of pigs, such as the heart and brain, an hour after the animals died.Scientists called the experiments "stunning," noting how the findings may help extend the health of human organs during surgery and expand the availability of donor organs.
They also noted how future research requires a "rigorous ethical review" from bioethicists and others."All cells do not die immediately, there is a more protracted series of events," David Andrijevic, an associate research scientist in neuroscience at Yale School of Medicine and co-lead author of the study, said in a statement. "It is a process in which you can intervene, stop, and restore some cellular function."The research, published in the Aug.
3 edition of the journal Nature, builds upon 2019 experiments by the same team in which they partially restored some basic functions to the brains of dead pigs hours after the animals died."If we were able to restore certain cellular functions in the dead brain, an organ known to be most susceptible to ischemia [inadequate blood supply], we hypothesized that something similar could also be achieved in other vital transplantable organs," said Yale’s Nenad Sestan, the Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neuroscience and professor of comparative medicine, genetics, and psychiatry.In a medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into a patient in a last-ditch effort to save his life and a Maryland hospital said that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery.