Successful transplantation of frozen organs

2002/01/24 Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana - Elhuyar Zientzia

Researchers at the Nôtre-Dame Hospital in Montreal have managed to transplant the ovary from frozen rats to another female rat. The news is of great importance since it is the first time that a frozen organ is successfully transplanted.

One of the problems that makes transplantation difficult is the impossibility of keeping the donor organ frozen. In fact, during the freezing process ice crystals are formed that pierce and deteriorate the tissues, so the patient must wait for the fresh organ. However, it is very difficult for the right organ to arrive on time.

Researchers from the Nôtre-Dame Hospital introduced in a protective solution the ovaries of rats with the fallopian tube. They were then slowly frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen throughout the night. After time, the organs were thawed and transplanted to genetically equal rats, thus avoiding rejection. Although the transplanted ovaries were not as effective as before, more than half of the rats obulared normally and one of them was managed.

The authors of the study hope that someday this technique will be useful for humans. It would certainly be a good solution for women and children who are sterilized by chemotherapy. However, other scientists find it very difficult. According to them, the rat ovary is very small compared to that of the woman, and the larger the organ, the more chances of damage it has in freezing.

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