A liver kept functioning outside of the body for the first time ever.
Medical scientists can keep a functioning human liver alive outside of the body for up to 24 hours before being transplanted.
Using a new machine, doctors from Oxford say that the number of livers available to be transplanted to patients could double with the advent of the new technology created by Team Consulting working together with the Oxford business OrganOx Ltd.
Before being transplanted, livers are usually kept on ice to slow down their metabolism.
They can only be preserved for about 14 hours before they are no longer fit to transplant.
King’s College Hospital in London has performed two successful transplants using the new machine to keep the livers alive for ten hours.
Researchers say that, using the machine, it is possible to keep a liver alive for 24 hours.
OrganOx Limited CEO Doctor Les Russell said: “In Europe and the US, around 13,000 liver transplants are undertaken each year. However, there is a combined waiting list of around 30,000 patients and up to 25 per cent of these patients die while awaiting transplantation.”
Over 2 thousand livers are wasted each year because of damage from using the cold preservation process or oxygen deprivation.