The problem with organ transplantation is that there can only be as many transplants as there are organs available. This means sick individuals sometimes wait months or years before receiving a life-saving transplant. Mayo Clinic continues to be a leader in transplant innovations with the goal to transform the way transplants are performed and increase organ availability for those waiting. Read some of the pioneering and cutting edge technologies, techniques and protocols that are happening across all three of our Mayo Clinic campuses.
Increasing the Number of Transplantable Lungs, Mayo Clinic—Jacksonville, Florida.
Lung transplantation is tricky. The length of time lungs are viable outside of the body is around 6 hours. Lungs are also often damaged. Even if the donor was not a smoker or exposed to second hand smoke, they may have lived in a location with a lot of smog or air pollution. This makes the number of lungs available for transplantation very limited—limiting the donor pool. United Therapeutics Corp. partnered with Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville Florida to develop the Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion (EVLP) program. This program helps restore damaged donor lungs to make them more suitable for transplantation. Learn more.
Gastric Sleeve and Liver Transplant Combination Surgery
Many individuals who need a liver transplant may struggle with obesity as well, often making them ineligible for a liver transplant. Obesity may actually cause liver failure in a disease called NASH or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Mayo Clinic’s multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to care made possible a pioneering combination surgery of a gastric sleeve and liver transplant. Patients who have developed liver failure due to obesity now have treatment options. Learn more.
Preventing Organ Rejection after Transplant
New Mayo Clinic research finds that liver mesenchymal stromal cells have immunoregulatory qualities that make them more effective than the mesenchymal stromal cells used from bone marrow or fat issue in clinical trials. The liver cells could be valuable in treating a wide range of diseases and conditions with underlying inflammation such as organ rejection after transplantation. Learn more about this ongoing research.
For individuals who are experiencing acute liver failure, the only proven treatment has been liver transplantation. While transplant is a successful treatment method, individuals wait months and sometimes years before they can receive a liver. Advances have been made to perform living donor liver transplantation, which can help decrease the wait time, but researchers at Mayo Clinic have been exploring another method. They have developed and are testing an alternative to liver transplantation called the Spheroid Reservoir Bioartifical Liver. This “liver” can support healing and regeneration of an injured liver and improve outcomes and reduce mortality rates for patients with acute liver failure—without the need for a transplant. Learn more about this research.
Finding Best Use of Imperfect Donated Organs
Sometimes organs are declined because of uncertain quality. With a severe organ shortage, this means that the roughly 113,000 people on the national organ transplant waiting list will continue to wait. Mayo Clinic recognizes the power of donated organs and how they transform a person’s life and are developing and implementing multiple approaches to ensure more organs are transplanted. Learn more.
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