A hospital in southern China has agreed with a Dutch medical center to boost cooperation on promoting to global markets a device designed to increase the success rate of liver transplants.
The device, which can keep livers viable outside the human body with uninterrupted blood flow for up to a week, was invented by experts at the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou.
Over the weekend, He Xiaoshun, vice-president of the hospital, signed a cooperative agreement along with Robert J. Porte, a senior transplant surgeon from the Netherlands' University Medical Center Groningen.
According to He, the device helps reduce complications during surgery and can shorten the recovery period for patients. It also has the potential to be used in the transplantation of other organs, including the heart and kidneys, he said.
Dozens of patients have undergone operations using the device at the Guangzhou hospital since it was first used in July, and "all of them have seen good results", He added.
After the liver is extracted from the donor, it is placed into the device, which pumps body-temperature blood into the hepatic artery, replicating the effect of being inside the body and keeping the organ fresh.
Traditionally, organs are stored on ice, but they begin to deteriorate after more than 30 minutes without blood flow, He said.
Porte, who arrived in Guangzhou to study the technique last week, predicted that the device could be introduced to the Netherlands within two years.
According to the cooperative agreement, both sides will expand personnel exchanges.
University Medical Center Groningen is one of the largest organ transplantation centers in the world.
Wang Xuehao, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said the groundbreaking device, developed by He and his team, is a disruptive innovation that showcases China's great contribution to organ transplantation.