Health

Could death be treatable? A potential breakthrough as scientists revive cells and organs in dead pigs

The latest study might change the update definition of death as in potential breakthrough, a team of scientists were able to restore the blood flow of pigs that were dead for an hour. They also managed to restore cell function in some organs. 

In the study published on Wednesday (August 3) in the scientific journal Nature, researchers at Yale University announced that they used new technology to restore cells and bring the animals’ cells back to function. 

The study appears to be a milestone in opening up new windows and possibilities for the collection of human organs for transplant. The technology used by the researcher could help organs last longer if after death. It can be a blessing for millions of people across the world. 

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David Andrijevic, an associate research scientist in neuroscience at Yale School of Medicine and co-lead author of the study, said, “All cells do not die immediately, there is a more protracted series of events. It is a process in which you can intervene, stop, and restore some cellular function.” 

Brendan Parent, an assistant professor of bioethics at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, was left stunned. As quoted by NBC News, Parent said, “My brain went to all the crazy places we could go in 20 or 30 years.” Parent was not involved in the study. 

Previously in 2019, the US-based team managed to restore cell function in the brains of pigs hours after they had been decapitated. 

In the latest study, the researchers have used the same technique used in 2019 and expanded it to the entire body. To conduct the study, they induced a heart attack in the anaesthetised pigs. When the blood stopped flowing through the bodies, they applied the technique. 

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A liquid containing the pigs’ own blood, as well as a synthetic form of haemoglobin and drugs that protect cells and prevent blood clots was pumped into the bodies of dead pigs. Haemoglobin is the protein that carries oxygen in red blood cells.  

Blood started circulating again and many cells began functioning including in vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidney, for the next six hours of the experiment. 

Nenad Sestan, the study’s senior author and a researcher at Yale University, told journalists: “These cells were functioning hours after they should not have been — what this tells us is that the demise of cells can be halted.” 

Such studies lead to one question, could death be treatable? 

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