“Nature” Cover Hails Biomedical Engineering Advance in Liver Transplantation

This week’s cover of “Nature” (Volume 557 Issue 7703, 3 May 2018) illustrates the concept of normothermic machine perfusion as an improved means of preserving, testing and rescuing livers prior to transplantation.

Developed over the past 20 years by Prof. Constantin Coussios, Director of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, in collaboration with transplant surgeon Prof. Peter Friend, the technology resulted in the formation, in 2008, of Oxford University spin-out OrganOx Ltd. The cover is inspired by an article in the same issue by Nasralla, Coussios et al. (Nature 557, 50–56, 2018) reporting on the first randomized trial to compare conventional cold storage to warm machine perfusion in organ transplantation. Based on 220 transplants performed in 4 European countries and 7 hospitals, the study demonstrated significantly increased organ utilization and improved post-transplant outcomes for normothermic machine perfusion, which was also found to enable considerably longer periods of safe preservation. The device is now entering widespread clinical use, as reported in a separate BBC article on Addenbrooke’s hospital that has adopted the technology exactly 50 years after Prof Sir Roy Calne performed the first liver transplant there.