Making organs better for transplant
Some donated organs are considered unsuitable for transplantation for a variety of reasons, ranging from poor organ quality to donor age, or even because the donor has a disease. But research suggests it could be better for a patient to receive one of these “marginal” organs than to stay on the waiting list. “There is plenty of data to support this,” says Gregory Tietjen, PhD, associate professor of transplantation and immunology at Yale. “But using marginal organs comes with increased risks post-transplant. We’re trying to find a way to eliminate that extra risk.” He and transplant surgeon Dani Haakinson, MD, work with transplant-declined human kidneys and livers, supporting them with machine perfusion (to pump blood), testing their function, and tailoring a repair that may make them suitable for transplantation. Their goal is to see the method used for transplants in the United States within a few years.