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Publications of the Week

Cell Release during Perfusion Reflects Cold Ischemic Injury in Rat Livers

By February 6, 2020No Comments

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This week we profile a recent publication in Nature Scientific Reports from Dr. Shannon Tessier’s laboratory (Pictured from left to right: Mehmet Toner, Korkut Uygun, Reinier de Vries, Shannon Tessier, Casie Pendexter) at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?

Currently, there is a severe shortage of viable donor organs whereby only 28% of the wait-listed patients receive transplants. Our lab is focused on solutions to overcome this organ shortage. We use a multi-pronged approach which includes developing new tools to better assess organ viability, extend preservation duration, and resuscitate marginal organs.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?

Current clinical standards evaluate the viability of donor organs with gross population-based donor statistics (such as age, race, height, among others). Because of such non-specific indicators coupled with the risk averse selection of donor livers due to the unacceptable costs of an unsuccessful transplant, perfectly good donor organs are discarded every year. Identifying novel biomarkers that can predict safe utilization of the grafts that are currently discarded would significantly help relieve the donor organ shortage.

What are the next steps for this research?

Next, we will characterize the cell release from human donor livers.  Using this information, we aim to identify key cell-based markers which will enable clinicians to know if the organ is suitable for transplant. 

In addition to continuing these efforts on human livers prior to transplant, we also aim to develop a method to collect the cells that are released from injured livers into the blood after transplant to monitor transplant recipients via a noninvasive blood test.

If you’d like us to mention your funding sources, please list them.

We would like to thank the US National Institutes of Health and gratefully acknowledge funding to Dr. Tessier for Career Development from NIH, American Heart Association, and Harvard Medical School Eleanor and Miles Shore Fellowship. We thank the Center for Faculty Development’s Office for Women’s Careers and the Executive Committee on Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Also, we thankfully acknowledge support provided by the Tosteson fellowship awarded to Dr. de Vries by the ECOR at MGH.

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