Organ transplantation is a life-saving treatment for organ failure in humans, but there is a growing disparity between the number of patients in need of a transplant and the number of suitable donor organs available. When an organ is donated for transplantation, it can spend several hours outside the body without a blood or oxygen supply. This can cause damage that may make it unsuitable for transplantation.
In 2020 a project led by Mr Kourosh Saeb-Parsy in the Department of Surgery began using pigs to better understand the cellular mechanisms underlying this damage and to test promising treatments. Previous work has been carried out in mice, but pigs are much more like humans in size and complexity. The pig model will also be used to test the safety and efficacy of new treatments before clinical trials in humans. Through this work it is hoped that more suitable organs will be available for human transplantation in the future.