Nanotechnology to be used for thawing cryopreserved human organs

Donated organs that can be deep frozen will one day serve as the means to enhance the transplant supply. But for this, the foremost thing for the scientists is to find a way to thaw the fragile tissue without cracking it. A research team at the University of Minnesota has taken a step forward to use nanotechnology to make super heaters for conserved tissues.

The team calls their technique as nanowarming. They have also reported that their technique can rapidly and safely thaw ample quantity of animal tissue in comparison to the tools available at present.

The team bathed the tissue segments in magnetic nanoparticles and then beamed radiofrequency energy to stimulate them. The nanoparticles work as microscopic heaters, which warm the tissue evenly that are present nearby them. But still, an extensive research is to be conducted before trying to thaw human organs.

Doctors have yearned to develop an organ bank similar to heart valves or sperm that can be preserved for a long duration by freezing them. And this study can serve as a vital proof of concept. Storing the organs for long outside the body is not possible, and hence, is one of the major challenges among others. For instance, a lung or heart can be stored only for 4–6 hours outside the body. The available thawing techniques function in simple or small types of tissue. In the present technique, the team has used metallic nanoparticles, that is, iron oxide. As observed, warming should be rapid and evenly distributed to keep the tissues steady.

Nanowarming is believed to heat the tissue up to 10–100 times faster than the earlier methods. And the best part of the technique is that the small sections of pig arteries and human skin were found to be in a healthy state without any damages. And also the researchers were able to sweep away the nanoparticles.

Now, the team is making effort to attempt this technique with rabbit kidneys. This technique can assist in saving patients if able to successfully thaw organs. Isn’t it a great news?

Poonam Bhosale-Gorade undertook the post of Team Lead–Content Writer at Medical Device News, following a 3-year stint as a writer and editor of books, reports, special publications. She holds a BE degree in Information technology from Pune University. Her hobbies include reading books, writing on Quora, trekking, playing badminton, etc. She is currently maintaining her blog Crazy Indian Stories (started recently). She can be reached at: poonam@medicaldevicenews.net