Device Extends Life of Organs , with new method, right now the method for transporting organs like hearts, lungs, and kidneys has remained relatively the same for decades, has included the same two basic components. Ice and the ice chest., traditional process. An organ is quickly taken from the recovery site, placed on a bed of crushed ice within an insulated carrier. Then flushed with a cold preservation solution. One that keeps the tissue at 4 °C all the way to the transplant site. The ice-chest arrangement preserves a heart for 4-6 hours, that small window of time can mean the difference between a healthy organ and a rejected one.

Self-Contained System

Device extends life of organs a self-contained system called ULiSSES™ , winner of Tech Briefs Media Group’s  this year. Extends the life of organs to 24 hours, circulating oxygen instead of calling for the ice.

With ULiSSES, the recovered organs stored in a container and is attached to an oxygenation head. An oxygen-rich solution maintains the basic metabolic functions of the organ. It then stays in a healthy and viable condition for longer periods of time. Through gas pressure, the nutrient rich fluid then pulsed toward the organ. A process called perfusion, then vented into a canister within the device. The solution can be recycled and returned to the upper part of the system. The organ reoxygenated, filtered, and sent back through the tissue again and again.

ULiSSES does not require a mechanical pump, motor, or battery. Harvested energy from the expanding oxygen recirculates the preservation fluid, also called perfusate – a convenient, efficient feature. The system fits into an airplane’s overhead compartment on an airplane, simplifying transport to the transplant hospital.

Device extends life of organs, recognizing that separating organs from the body also separated them from their oxygen supply. This suggested that preservation technology should circulate an oxygenated solution through the tissue in order to maintain its access to oxygen. Research using high-frequency ventilation led to the idea that a perfusion device could be configured to harvest energy from compressed oxygen. This will both power perfusion and oxygenate the perfusate.

Limitation of Today’s Organ Transport Methods

  1. The organ starts to die after taking tissue from the body. Tissue begins to die from lack of oxygen.
  2. Tissue comes in contact with the ice, becomes frost-bitten, which induces injury.
  3. Any delay in transporting the tissue results in additional tissue deterioration, and rejected because of poor quality.
  4. Optimal matching between the donor and recipient often doesn’t occur. Consequently, higher doses of immunosuppressants then required in order to prevent rejection.

Other limitations include high transportation costs. Emergency surgery that can occur at any hour of the day or night. Saves on long recovery periods in the ICU, all of which drive up the overall cost of transplantation.

Transport Methods

Transporting the organ from the recovery site to the transplant site has not changed much primarily because the current method of cold of storage. Requiring only the organ, ice, and an ice chest. Additionally, the engineering mind-set for machine perfusion was and still is locked into using a pump. Needing a motor, which needs a power supply, which results in a larger, heavier, and less transportable device.

How Does This Work?

Device extends life of organs the ULiSSESTM device in every respect for transportation of organs and tissues. Consisting of two parts. A fluid-filled container in which the organ is stored, and an oxygenation head to which the organ is attached.

Within the head is an oxygenator attached to a simplified pump. The recovered organ then attached to one end of the oxygenator via the arterial vessel. Both the oxygenator and organ then lowered onto the container, which has previously been filled with a preservation solution. Joining the two parts forms the organ storage compartment. A switch operates as an actuator to provide pulsatile operation with a suitable output pressure.

Pressure pulses applied to the pump push oxygenated perfusate through the organ. Perfusate exits via the vein into the organ storage compartment until the pressure in the organ storage chamber reaches a selected level, excess pressure vented. The pressure differential forces fluid in the storage compartment through the oxygenator. CO2 then removed, oxygenation occurs, and the next cycle begins. The system, placed in an insulated case that can fit into the overhead compartment. Simplifying transportation of the organ, to transplant hospital.

Device Extends Life of Organs Innovating Health

The innovation is that the oxygenator and the pump then integrated to achieve three functions simultaneously. The first, to drive perfusate though the attached limb of organ. The second, to prevent retrograde flow though the oxygenator. The third, to oxygenate and remove CO2 from the perfusate.

Additionally, the combination of the oxygenator/pump mechanism with a switch operating in a pulsatile fashion provides a mechanism that harvests the energy from the expanding oxygen to recirculate the preservation perfusate.

Exciting Technology with New Device Extends Life of Organs

The most exciting aspect of this technology, the device has the capacity to provide sufficient oxygen to organs. Plus tissues at room temperature, satisfying metabolic requirements for more than 24 hours. That means the tissue remains healthy throughout the preservation period, yielding high-quality organs for transplantation. This in turn leads to higher organ utilization and more opportunities for transplantation. Overall, ULiSSES distinguished by its portability, affordability and ease of use.


Thus far, the device has been tested in various animal models using kidneys, hearts, colons, and skeletal muscle. Through the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical research in San Antonio, access to porcine limbs and organs, and diseased human limbs for additional testing. Moreover, our company Vascular Perfusion Solutions will be conducting studies in porcine hearts and kidneys, to gather data for FDA submission and clearance.

Additional directions into which ULiSSES can expand include regenerative medicine, and organ banking. Simply switching the preservation solution to a nutrient solution. ULiSSES can function as a bioreactor for tissue regeneration. By switching to a surfactant solution, ULiSSES can effectively decellularize vascularized tissue to form extracellular matrices for tissue regeneration. And given the right environment, may even be able to preserve limbs and organs for a much longer time. On-demand organs perhaps available in the future.