At Yale University’s medical school, researchers have restored some brain and cellular functions in pigs that have been dead for as long as four hours.
Within a minute or two of death, animal and human tissues lose their supply of oxygen and begin to break down.
However, in 2019, Yale’s research team unveiled what they called BrainEx, which pumped tissue-preserving chemicals through the brains of pigs killed at meat-processing plants.
When the brains’ blood pathways were flushed with the preserving fluids, the tissues’ breakdown was halted and some functions, including communication between brain cells, were restored.
Now the same group has developed OrganEx, a cocktail of chemicals that does the same for organs and other tissues below the neck.
Pigs that had died up to an hour before were connected to the OrganEx pump, which circulated a fluid specially formulated to arrest and correct the damage that begins when blood stops flowing.
Some essential molecular and cellular functions started up again in the dead pigs’ hearts, liver, and kidneys, as well as their brains.
By analyzing patterns of gene expression, the researchers also saw some tissue repair processes were under way.
At a microscopic level, it was difficult to distinguish between a healthy organ and one that had been treated with the OrganEx fluids, the scientists said.
However, no widespread, normal brain functions were seen, relieving fears of Frankenswine zombies.
TRENDPOST: Yale’s breakthrough has shown that tissues are more resilient after death than previously thought.
The BrainEx and OrganEx technologies point to possible protocols that could restore organ functions after a stroke or heart attack as well as preserve tissues for organ transplants longer than they now can be.