Web edition: March 11, 2011
Print edition: March 26, 2011; Vol.179 #7 (p. 4)
CUT-OFF LIVER KEPT ALIVE — Three surgeons have completely isolated the liver from dogs, and with heart-lung machines have kept the animals and their livers alive for as long as eight hours. They were able to replant the livers in place, rejoin the numerous blood vessel connections and restore the animals to health.… The purpose of the experiments was to determine whether it might be feasible to perform a much simpler operation — perfusion of the liver without removing it — on human beings. Without physically removing the liver, the organ might be cut off from the rest of the body and blood loaded with anticancer drugs could be pumped through the isolated liver without exposing the rest of the system to the toxic effects.