New breakthrough makes it possible to maintain organs in a newly dead animal, raising hopes for additional organs to be transplanted if this research proves successful in humans.
The pigs had been lying dead in the lab for an hour — no blood was circulating in their bodies, their hearts were still, their brain waves flat. Then a group of Yale scientists pumped a custom-made solution into the dead pigs’ bodies with a device similar to a heart-lung machine.
What happened next adds questions to what science considers the wall between life and death. Although the pigs were not considered conscious in any way, their seemingly dead cells revived. Their hearts began to beat as the solution, which the scientists called OrganEx, circulated in veins and arteries. Cells in their organs, including the heart, liver, kidneys and brain, were functioning again, and the animals never got stiff like a typical dead pig.
Fans of Philip K. Dick recall cold-pac, which was able to sustain half-life after death in his 1969 novel Ubik:
...Al Hammond stood Runciter's lifeless - or apparently lifeless - body upright in the floor-to-ceiling cold-pac chamber; automatic clamps closed about Runciter's thighs and shoulders, supporting him, while the cold, glistening with its own simulated life, sparkled and shone, dazzling Joe Chip and Al Hammond...
Glen Runciter, [Joe] thought, frozen upright in a transparent plastic casket ornamented with plastic rosebuds. Wakened into half-life activity one hour a month...
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