Currently, it is impossible to store organs and simple tissues. However, a new discovery by scientists at RMIT University could change that.
In an exciting discovery, scientists from the University have found two new cryoprotective agents, which have been shown to have several advantages over current agents that have been used over the last fifty years. Current agents have not worked for organs and many cell types, meaning that a lot of organs are thrown away unnecessarily.
However, the two new agents that were discovered by the scientists were found to be effective for four different cell types, including brain and skin cells. These two new agents could help to develop thousands more, potentially helping organs and cells to be preserved for years instead of hours.
The agents work by protecting against damage during cryopreservation, helping to prevent the formation of ice crystals that can be damaging to cells. Instead, a ‘glassy structure’ forms that doesn’t cause the same damage as ice crystals.
If scientists are able to develop their approach further, it may mean that current organ shortage problems could actually be eliminated altogether. As part of their next steps, the team at RMIT University is now looking at ways they can cryopreserve new cell types.