Liver-preserver

A spin-off from Oxford University is developing a device that uses blood at normal body temperatures to sustain organs outside the body.


OrganOx, a spin-off from Oxford University’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Nuffield Department of Surgery, has raised £1.5m to help it develop a device that uses blood at normal body temperatures to sustain organs outside the body.


The OrganOx device was invented by academic founders Prof Peter Friend, a leading transplant surgeon, and Dr Constantin Coussios, a reader in Biomedical Engineering.


It will initially be used to improve and prolong the preservation and transportation of livers before transplantation. 


‘The major benefit of the OrganOx technology will be to increase the number of suitable livers available for organ transplantation,’ said Dr Les Russell, chief executive officer of OrganOx. 


In Europe and the US, about 11,500 liver transplants are undertaken each year.


However, there is a combined waiting list of about 30,000 patients and up to 25 per cent of these patients die while awaiting transplants.


More than 2000 livers are discarded annually because they are either damaged by oxygen deprivation or by intracellular fat.


The OrganOx technology allows livers to be preserved for up to three days, more than three times longer than is possible by conventional cold storage.


The company expects that it will also allow livers currently deemed unsuitable for transplant to recover to an acceptable standard for transplant.


The £1.5m Series A funding round was led by Oxford Technology Management and Technikos.


The Oxford University Challenge Seed Fund also participated in the round.