Home > News > BFHU & HU in the News > 2016
Shopping cart Shopping cart (0 items)

Scientists "break the ice" on organ banking

02-03-2016

After decades of studies, scientists now believe that a breakthrough in preserving body organs for the purpose of saving lives is close at hand.

A heart or lung is kept viable for transplantation for only six hours before deterioration begins. Pancreas or liver would go to waste after 12 hours in storage, and a kidney could be kept outside the body for less than 30 hours. These time constraints pose a tremendous logistical challenge for the procedure of transplanting donated organs. Transplantation stands the best chance to succeed when performed as quickly as possible after the donor surgery, and given these time frames, many organs end up going to waste.

One of the main problems standing in the way of storing organs for more than a few hours is ice growth. When organs are frozen, expanding ice crystals damage the cells in a way that they cannot be revived.

That is why an organ such as heart, kidney, liver, lung and intestine, that is removed from a donor is kept cooled but not frozen, and its life-span is not longer that several hours.

"The ability to freeze organs and to then thaw them without causing damage to the organ itself would be revolutionary in terms of our chances to save lives," says Prof. Ido Braslavsky from the Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition at the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment in The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Perfecting cryopreservation – the process of preserving cells, tissues and organs in sub-zero temperatures – would enable long-term banking of tissues and organs and efficient matching between donor and patient, eventually saving lives of millions of people around the world. 

Prof. Braslavsky is one of the top researches contributing significantly to this field of research. His work was recently featured in an article in The Economist (http://econ.st/1T0cVim). Together with his Hebrew University team, including Dr. Maya Bar Dolev, Dr. Liat Bahari, Dr. Amir Bein, Dr. Ran Drori, Dr. Victor Yeshunsky and others, and in collaboration with Prof. Peter Davies from Queens University in Canada, he studies Antifreeze proteins – a type of ice-binding proteins that help organisms to resist or to withstand freezing both in sea and on land.

Ice-binding proteins were discovered some 50 years ago in Antarctic fish and are now known to exist in cold-resistant fish, plants, insects and microorganisms. They actively inhibit the formation and growth of crystalline ice, and their superiority over other antifreeze substances is that they are needed in very low amounts to do it effectively.

"We investigate the interaction of ice-binding proteins with ice crystals. Since we are working at temperatures of sub-zero Celsius degrees and we need high accuracy of working temperature, we designed a specialized microscope with a stage cooler that allows a millidegree-level control of temperature and also freezing. Using fluorescent illumination, we can see where the proteins, which are tagged with fluorescent dyes, are located. With these devices, we can follow ice crystals as they grow and melt in the presence of ice-binding proteins," Braslavsky explains.

Braslavsky and his students showed that ice-binding proteins absorb to ice via irreversible binding. This study explained how ice-binding proteins stop ice growth, a major mystery that puzzled scientists in the field for decades. With continued research, "We found that proteins in insects are much more efficient in inhibiting ice growth than proteins in fish, but fish proteins bind faster to ice," says Braslavsky. This finding, published in Langmuir and RSC Advances in 2015, could be crucial for the use of these proteins as cryoprotectants.

"Ice growth also poses a major problem in frozen food," says Braslavsky, who also works with his team on the implementation of ice-binding proteins into food. "Many are familiar with ice cream that has lost its texture in home freezers, or meat that has lost a lot of its liquids and doesn't look or taste fresh after thawing. Ice-binding proteins may allow the control of ice in frozen food and the developments of new frozen treats. Some food manufacturers have already started using ice-binding proteins in their products."

Braslavsky's pioneering work in studying the interaction between antifreeze proteins and ice is now expanding to developing cryopreservation techniques that will allow revival of cells and tissues while restoring their form and function.

Prof. Braslavsky's research is supported by the European Research Council (ERC), the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), and the Israel Science Foundation (ISF).

Research in cryopreservation has been the focal goal of the Organ Preservation Alliance (OPA), an American NGO established in 2014. The organization aims to accelerate and coordinate research towards banking of human organs, and it says that for the first time, this goal is within reach.

Last year the first global Organ Banking Summit was convened in California, bringing world-leading scientists, investors and policy-makers together to "stop biological time" and transform transplantation. It followed an announcement by the U.S. Department of Defense, of the first-ever government grants targeted at organ banking.

While the race is on, Prof. Braslavsky is hopeful that the cryopreservation research is on the doorstep of success. “Recent developments in cryobiology methodologies and the use of materials with specific interaction with ice crystals such as ice-binding proteins open the possibility for significant advancement in cells and organs cryopreservation,” he says. 

 

 

 

Latin American Academic Leaders Visit Israel, Sign Cooperation Agreements with Hebrew University

Some twenty rectors from leading Latin American universities visited Israel this week and signed agreements with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in a first-of-its-kind conference signalling growing academic cooperation

15-12-2016

Higher BMI in Adolescence May Affect Cognitive Function in Midlife

Study of Israeli adolescents also looks at impact of socioeconomic position on subsequent cognitive impairment

08-12-2016

A New Passion Fruit Variety Keeps the Brain Young

Hebrew University Researchers Develop a New Strain of Passion Fruit that significantly protects brain cells and its function from aging-related damage

08-12-2016

Best History Book France 2016

A history book about Jewish-Arab relations titled Juifs et musulmans en Palestine et en Israel des origines à nos jours recently won the first prize for the best history book published in France in 08-12-2016

Hebrew University Congratulates Researchers On Receiving 2016 EMET Prize

Hebrew University Researchers Bring Home 3 of the 8 EMET Prizes Awarded for 2016

04-12-2016

The Bert and Ernie Principle of Sharing:

When and Why Do Children Give Others the Bigger Piece of the Pie?

29-11-2016

Researchers uncover a survival mechanism in cancer cells

Scientists from the Crick Institute, London and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, discover a protein that plays a key role in turning cancer tumour cells into cancer stem cells that are able to renew outbreaks of the disease

22-11-2016

Hebrew University Students Ranked the 67th Most Employable Worldwide

An analysis of graduates employability published by Times Higher Education (THE) has ranked graduates of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as the 67th most employable in the world.

20-11-2016

Canada's Governor General Visits Hebrew University's Faculty of Medicine

Governor General discusses collaborative medical research partnerships between Canada and Israel at IMRIC, the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada

03-11-2016

Italian President Sergio Mattarella Visits the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

On the first day of his state visit to Israel, the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, gave a keynote address to an overflow audience, at the Truman Institute on the university's Mount Scopus campus.

30-10-2016

The Hebrew University European Brain Forum 'Brain & Pain'

Sunday 20th November: 10:30 - 17:00 Paris

27-10-2016

Strategic Partnership between the Hebrew University and the University of Vienna

Four joint seminars took place, where scientists from the Hebrew University and the University of Vienna met to exchange ideas and to prepare proposals for third party funding

27-10-2016

Limmud Conference 2016

Deborah Steinmetz, Director, Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive

18-10-2016

Scientists Find New Metabolic Pathways to Resist Viruses

International partnership unravels the mechanism by which Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) reprograms human metabolism, and identifies new pathways of anti-viral resistance

10-10-2016

Groundbreaking Immune Approach Targets Humans Instead of Bacteria

Scientists show for the first time how bacterial superantigen toxins work, and how short peptides can block them and save lives

06-10-2016

Asian Religious Leaders Discuss Peace, Environment With Israeli Counterparts at Hebrew University

A delegation of Asian religious leaders visited the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

13-09-2016

Hebrew University Launches Israel’s First Academic Degree Programme in Viticulture and Enology

Innovative boutique programme for professional training in the growth, production and analysis of wine, as well as wineries management

17-08-2016

New Chair of the Young Professionals Group

Succeeding Jacqueline Caspi as Chair of the BFHU Young Professional Committee is Benjamin Stowe

16-08-2016

Rare Frescoes from Roman Period Discovered in Hebrew University Excavations at Zippori in Galilee

New finds contribute significantly to research of Roman art in Israel: Provide first evidence of figurative images in wall paintings at the site, and precede earliest mosaics discovered at the site by a hundred years

10-08-2016

Historic Find at Tel-Hazor: A Statue of an Egyptian Official

In a historic find, a large fragment of an Egyptian statue measuring 45 X 40 centimetres, made of lime-stone, was discovered In the course of the current season of excavations at Tel-Hazor, north of the Sea of Galilee in Israel

25-07-2016

IMRIC Scientist Awarded for Work in Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine

Dr. Yosef Buganim is a young researcher at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC), part of the Hebrew University's Faculty of Medicine

18-07-2016

Single Dose of Novel Peptide Protects Cognitive Function after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

New molecules, developed by Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists, reduce inflammation, cell death and cognitive impairments following traumatic brain injury in mice

11-07-2016

Hebrew University #1 in Middle East, #26 Worldwide, Says Saudi-based Centre

The Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR), based in Saudi Arabia, has ranked the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at #26 among the 25,000+ degree-granting institutions in the world.

11-07-2016

European Neuroscience Outreach Award

Goes to Hebrew University's ELSC Brain Sciences Centre

07-07-2016

Dame Helen Mirren Meets Arab and Jewish Students at Hebrew University

Dame Helen Mirren, one of the world's best-known and most respected actresses, met with Arab and Jewish theatre students at The Billy Crystal Program for Peace Through the Performing Arts

26-06-2016

Hebrew University Ranked #17 in Asia, First in Israel, in 2016

Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings Editor of Times Higher Education Rankings: "It has never been as clear to me that the balance of power is shifting from the West to the East."

20-06-2016

Prof. Rina Talgam Awarded the Polonsky Prize

Historical survey of excavated mosaic art of pagans, Jews, Samaritans, Christians and Muslims earns Hebrew University professor the first prize in this year's Polonsky Awards

08-06-2016

A New Immunotherapy against Cancer Earns a Hebrew University Researcher the Kaye Innovation Award

Pinchas Tsukerman developed a novel immunotherapy method in which monoclonal antibodies neutralize the tumor's ability to suppress the immune system

07-06-2016

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at Hebrew University Convocation:

'Striving to expand the government is correct and justified.' President Rivlin, a Hebrew University alumnus, praises academia's role as unifier of Israeli society

29-05-2016

Young Professional Group hosted a dinner in the House of Lords

The British Friends of The Hebrew University Young Professional Group has held its first dinner. The dinner was hosted by Lord Pannick QC in the Peers' Dining Room, House of Lords

26-05-2016

President Rivlin, a Hebrew University alumnus, to deliver keynote address

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, American Jewish Philanthropist Mortimer B. Zuckerman, and i24 founder Patrick Drahi To Be Honored at Hebrew University Convocation

22-05-2016

University of Toronto and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Deepen Ties

The University of Toronto and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem are pleased to deepen their partnership in the fields of social work and bio-innovation

19-05-2016

Prime Minister of Singapore Begins Official Visit to Israel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Hebrew University signs agreements with leading academic institutions from the Republic of Singapore, and confers honorary doctorate upon Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

18-04-2016

New Human On Chip Technology Permits Unparalleled Insight into the Dynamics of Cellular Function

Hebrew University's liver-on-chip platform is uniquely able to monitor metabolic changes indicating mitochondrial damage occurring at drug concentrations previously regarded as safe

04-04-2016

Yissum Showcases Hebrew University’s Breakthroughs in Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology

Yaacov Michlin, CEO, Yissum: During 2015, Yissum founded a record number of eight companies based on inventions of researchers from the Hebrew University Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

31-03-2016

President Pavlopoulos of Greece Awarded Hebrew University Honorary Doctorate

His Excellency the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

30-03-2016

Yissum takes part in project to Operate a Tech Incubator under Israel's National Incubator Programme

Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) LED Group joins forces with Motorola Solutions (NYSE: MSI), Reliance Industries (NSE: Reliance) and Yissum, the Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

22-03-2016

Scientists Generate a New Type of Human Stem Cell That Has Half a Genome

The haploid stem cells may yield new genetic screening tools and therapies

16-03-2016

New method detects multiple diseases via DNA released from dying cells into blood

New blood test uses methylation patterns of circulating DNA from dying cells to detect diabetes, multiple sclerosis, pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis and brain damage, opening up vast possibilities for diagnostic medicine.

14-03-2016

Yissum

The Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University, comes to London

10-03-2016

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem to Name School of Education in Honour of Former Head Seymour Fox

Dedication Ceremony and Memorial Lecture on March 14 on Mount Scopus

10-03-2016

New Device Shortens Chest-Tube Insertion From Minutes To Seconds

Hebrew University students develop life-saving device following a wave of stabbing attacks that leaves some civilians with collapsed lungs

09-03-2016

Cellular Aging Process Unexpectedly Enhances Insulin Secretion

Researchers find that a cell aging program causes human and mouse pancreatic beta cells to work harder and secrete more insulin

07-03-2016

Scientists "break the ice" on organ banking

Hebrew University researchers develop a solution for long-term preservation of cells and organs for transplant, as part of a global alliance to bank organs

02-03-2016

Nanotechnology delivery system offers new approach to skin disease therapies

Hebrew University formula that activates the body's natural defense against free radicals could control a variety of skin pathologies and disorders

29-02-2016

Optical Guide Aims To Keep Orthopaedic Procedures Right On Target

New fibre optic guide-wire will enable surgeons to perform highly accurate hip fracture and spinal fusion surgery with minimal side effects

23-02-2016

Rare Einstein Documents Related To Historic Gravity Announcement Displayed at Hebrew University

Scientists At NSF Press Conference in D.C. Confirm Einstein's Century-Old Prediction

11-02-2016

The 2016 Institute for Law and Policy at The Hebrew University Faculty of Law

Three-Week Summer Program for International Students and Attorneys Opens June 27, 2016

08-02-2016

Hebrew University Linguist Prof. Edit Doron to be Awarded Israel Prize

Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett has announced that Prof. Edit Doron will be awarded the Israel Prize for her work in the study of Linguistics.

03-02-2016

Hebrew University Researchers Led Israel With 14 ERC Grants from EU in 2015

Over 23,000,000 Euros to Promote Groundbreaking Research in Medicine, Mathematics & Sciences, and the Humanities

07-01-2016

The British Friends turn 90 years old!

Supporting the Hebrew University since 1926

05-01-2016
Print Print this page Email Send to a friend