They develop a technique for decontaminating transplanted organs

Publicado em 24 março 2019

Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, discovered a way to decontaminate organ transplanted organs using a novel method that uses light to kill the virus and the donor's bacteria.

SAO PAULO. According to experts, biophoton therapy should expand available organs and reduce complications after surgery. "At present, there is no decontamination of organs for transplants." What is done is just the deprivation of the blood, but the microorganisms are still alive, either the organ is thrown away, or if there is no other alternative to avoid death, it will contaminated, "said the coordinator of the group of scientists Vanderlei Bagnato to Efe.

The research started in 2015 together with the University of Toronto. in Canada, which operates the largest lung transplant program in the world. The Canadians were responsible for the clinical part of the project, while the Brazilians took care of the development of the technology.

About $ 1 million was invested and the Brazilian part, which accounts for about 10%, remained in the hands of the Pesquisa de Sao Paulo Foundation (Fapesp). The procedure consists first of the removal of the blood from the organ and is replaced by a connected to the blood vessels outer tube by a liquid that keeps it alive. This liquid is exposed to ultraviolet rays that destroy the cell membranes of microorganisms and their DNA. "Ultraviolet rays are applied outside the organ so as not to kill their own cells, but the viruses and bacteria trapped by the fluid," Bagnato said.

On the other hand, photosensitive substances are added to the liquid. visible and infrared, which can select viruses and bacteria. Subsequently, these light frequencies are applied to the organ, which stimulate substances to oxidize microorganisms and damage viruses such as hepatitis and AIDS.

According to the scientist, the liquid is used more than once because it is still very expensive, with a value of $ 1,500 per liter. The first experiments were carried out with lungs of pigs, then with non-transplanted humans and finally tested on patients. For those in Canada, Marcelo Cypel, the results were optimal. "We have already performed ten tests with patients, two of which removed the virus and significantly reduced it at eight," Cypel said. Bagnato in turn assured that the bacteria were "completely extinguished".

There is already a patent in Canada and companies interested in producing the equipment of this technology. In Brazil, the goal is to test the program with kidneys and livers, the two most transplanted organs in the South American country. Scientists believe it will be possible in the future to improve the use of organs, to reduce their costs and waiting times, and to expand to other transplants, such as the heart or pancreas.

"Today transplantation of everything, uterus, face, but it is very expensive, for example, a lung transplant costs about $ 160,000, and in Brazil, dozens are done each year, but how many people need it?" Bagnato asked. Another advance that Bagnato plans in the future is the decontamination of organs in living people, which can be effective against diseases. By 2018, Brazil needed 20,000 grafts to add vital organs such as kidneys, hearts, livers and lungs, but only 8,500. According to the Brazilian Transplant Association, there are more than 30,000 people for surgery.