Scientists closer to freezing human organs - Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Scientists closer to freezing human organs

Posted: Updated:
Health News Health News
By FOX NEWS -

In order to preserve biological materials over an extended period of time, doctors rely on a process known as cryopreservation – a procedure that involves cooling human tissues to sub-zero temperatures. This frozen state effectively blocks chemical reactions from occurring and causing any damage to the materials, allowing them to remain viable for medical use later on.

However, cryopreservation is a risky process and is often reserved for the conservation of smaller groups of tissues or individual cells – such as embryos and stem cells. Freezing larger biological tissues is much more difficult. These materials often contain large amounts of water, which form ice crystals when frozen, causing significant damage to the cells and tissue.

But now, freezing larger amounts of human tissue may soon become a feasible option. Researchers from Villanova University have discovered how ice crystals invade and damage biological material during the freezing process – a significant discovery that could lead to new methods of preventing tissue injury during cryopreservation.

By overcoming this obstacle, freezing complex human tissues such as full-sized donor organs or artificially engineered replacement tissues could be a very real option for physicians.

“If you can cryopreserve tissue or even organs, then you have a way of storing them and of transporting them,” senior author Dr. Jens Karlsson, of the department of mechanical engineering at Villanova University, told FoxNews.com. “Now if you want to do a (lung) transplantation, you’re rushing the harvest organ from one hospital to another by helicopter, and you only have a few hours to do it. But if you’re able to preserve the tissue, then you have as much time as you want and you can really find the best match for the tissue and transport it over much longer distances.”

To better understand how ice interacts with cells as they freeze, Karlsson and his team utilized a video cryomicroscrope, which allowed them to observe the freezing process using high-speed imaging.

“We could record what happens and play it back in slow motion and really see in great detail what the interactions are between the ice, and cells in the tissue,” Karlsson said.

With this microscope, the team monitored the freezing events of genetically modified cells, some of which contained certain junction proteins and some of which did not. These junction proteins either suppressed or encouraged the formation of the cells’ gap junctions and tight junctions– channels that connect adjacent cells together. Gap junctions directly connect the cytoplasm of two cells, while tight junctions provide an even closer connection by firmly stitching together the cells’ plasma membranes.

The researchers found that when the gap junctions were suppressed in the cells, the ice still spread freely throughout the tissue. This meant that the extremely snug tight junctions played a significant role in allowing the ice to infiltrate the cells.

Read more at Fox News


  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Man with samurai sword arrested at New Jersey deli

    Man with samurai sword arrested at New Jersey deli

    Thursday, April 17 2014 9:27 AM EDT2014-04-17 13:27:28 GMT
    New Jersey NewsNew Jersey News
    Employees at a southern New Jersey deli say they feared for their lives when a man walked in and brandished a samurai sword. It happened at American Deli in Lower Township.
    Employees at a southern New Jersey deli say they feared for their lives when a man walked in and brandished a samurai sword. It happened at American Deli in Lower Township.
  • Rifle seized after squirrel shooting in Milford

    Rifle seized after squirrel shooting in Milford

    Thursday, April 17 2014 8:48 AM EDT2014-04-17 12:48:12 GMT
    Connecticut State NewsConnecticut State News
    Police say they found an unregistered assault rifle and three large-capacity magazines in the home of a Milford man accused of shooting a squirrel.  James Toigo has been charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm, cruelty to an animal, reckless endangerment, breach of peace, failure to register an assault rifle and possessing large-capacity magazines.
    Police say they found an unregistered assault rifle and three large-capacity magazines in the home of a Milford man accused of shooting a squirrel.  James Toigo has been charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm, cruelty to an animal, reckless endangerment, breach of peace, failure to register an assault rifle and possessing large-capacity magazines.
  • Harlem politician Basil Paterson dead

    Harlem politician Basil Paterson dead

    Thursday, April 17 2014 8:41 AM EDT2014-04-17 12:41:03 GMT
    Basil Paterson, the father of former New York Governor David Paterson, died Wednesday night at the age of 87. The trailblazing Democratic politician from Harlem served in the state Senate, as deputy mayor of New York City, as secretary of state of New York and was appointed by the New York Senate as a commissioner of the Port Authority of NY and NJ. In 1970, he ran for lieutenant governor, the second black nominee of a major party for statewide office in New York.
    Basil Paterson, the father of former New York Governor David Paterson, died Wednesday night at the age of 87. The trailblazing Democratic politician from Harlem served in the state Senate, as deputy mayor of New York City, as secretary of state of New York and was appointed by the New York Senate as a commissioner of the Port Authority of NY and NJ. In 1970, he ran for lieutenant governor, the second black nominee of a major party for statewide office in New York.
Powered by WorldNow

KTTV FOX 11
1999 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles CA 90025

Main: (310) 584-2000
News Tips? (310) 584-2025

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices