OrganOx metra is the world’s first fully automated system for keeping a human donor liver functioning for up to 24 hours outside the body. The device mimics the environment of the human body by continuously perfusing warm oxygenated blood through the liver at physiological pressures and flows, while providing nutrition.
The invention breaks with 40 years of traditional organ preservation in ice, doubling the time that donor organs can be preserved prior to transplantation. Through developing the metra, OrganOx has enabled transplanting teams to objectively assess the function of the donor liver before a transplant, something that is impossible with ice storage. This is particularly important when a donor liver is identified as ‘marginal’, when there is uncertainty as to whether it will function following transplant. The metra is therefore able to increase the availability of livers for transplantation and ensure that more patients can benefit from a life-changing liver transplant.
So far, more than 500 patients have received a liver preserved with the OrganOx metra. It is commercially available in Europe – and has also been used in Asia, North America and Australia. The underpinning technology was developed at the University of Oxford and OrganOx was spun out from the University in 2008 to develop and manufacture the OrganOx metra.
The nominated team members are: Professor Constantin Coussios, Chief Technology Officer and Founder; Professor Peter Friend, Chief Medical Officer and Founder; Dr Andrew Cook, Lead Software Engineer; Dr Toni Day, Director of Quality and Regulatory Affairs and Daniel Voyce, Technical Director.
MacRobert Award judge, Professor David Delpy CBE FREng FRS FMedSci, on OrganOx:
"This is a very impressive piece of complete systems engineering. It involves almost all engineering disciplines, clinical research and the development of new regulatory approvals for what is possibly the most complex bioengineering system on the market. Apart from the obvious and immediate benefit for all transplant patients, the long-lasting benefit of this development will be a total change in the way we manage transplant surgery and treat, regenerate and recreate organs that are supported outside the body."