Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has approved the use in the NHS of ex-vivo machine perfusion for preservation of livers donated for transplants.

The NICE announcement noted that liver transplantation is a highly successful treatment for end-stage liver disease, which is responsible for the deaths of around 11,000 people a year in England.

Professor Kevin Harris of NICE said that the latest evidence reviewed by NICE concluded that the procedure worked well and was safe to be offered to patients. He added that use of the procedure could lead to more patients waiting for livers being offered transplants, thereby potentially extending their lives. Transplant surgeons have called the machine a ‘game changer’ for the way in which organs are stored for transplant.

One variation of the technique, normothermic machine perfusion, was developed by University of Oxford Department of Engineering spinout OrganOx Ltd as a result of a cross-disciplinary collaboration between Professor Constantin Coussios (Institute of Biomedical Engineering) and Professor Peter Friend (Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences).

The technique maintains donor livers at body temperature for up to 24 hours, supplying the organs with oxygenated blood, medications and nutrients, and also allows assessment of the viability of the donor liver during preservation. A randomized study of the procedure compared to conventional cold storage was carried out last year, with positive results, and was cited in the NICE report. The study was conducted by the Consortium for Organ Preservation in Europe (COPE), which was funded by the European Union's 7th Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration.

Professor Coussios says of the NICE approval, “Increasing utilization of the limited pool of donor organs is heavily predicated on the ability to ‘test-drive’ those grafts that are perceived as marginal, and to take full advantage of extended preservation to 24 hours to optimize donation and operating theatre logistics. Normothermic machine perfusion uniquely enables both of these to occur. This forward-looking NICE approval will now make it possible to assess the potential impact of this major technological advance on reducing waiting lists and NHS transplantation costs nationally.”

NICE announcement

OrganOx welcomes NICE announcement

Similar stories

Clare Verrill receives Turing Fellowship

Thirty-three University of Oxford researchers have been named Turing Fellows for the 2021/22 academic year, including Associate Professor Clare Verrill from the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS).

Researchers awarded Wellcome Innovator Grant to investigate role of brainstem nucleus in human consciousness

Researchers at Oxford University have received a prestigious Wellcome Innovator Grant for investigating the role of the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) – a brainstem nucleus – in human consciousness.

Discovered gene patterns can predict prostate cancer treatment response

Nearly 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK. Perhaps the most significant clinical challenge today is deciding which type of treatment will work best for different patient groups.

Regent Lee wins top UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship

Dr Regent Lee of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences is one of eight Oxford University academics who have been awarded significant financial funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowships Scheme.

Largest trial of carotid artery surgery and stenting finds similar long-term effects on stroke risk

Results from a major clinical trial demonstrate that both stenting and surgery are low-risk and similarly effective procedures for treating carotid artery disease.

Blog posts

Celebrating Anti-Bullying Week with words of kindness

Keeva Heap, who is undertaking a communications work experience placement at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS), shares our words of kindness In honour of Anti-Bullying Week.

My virtual work experience with NDS and NDORMS

Louise Tan, a Year 12 student from Ballyclare in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, recently attended the joint NDS and NDORMS Virtual Work Experience. In this guest blog, Louise reflects on her experience.

Celebrating women of NDS

To celebrate 100 years since women were admitted as full members of the University and on the occasion of International Women's Day, a group of inspirational women in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) reflect on their journeys, their place in Medical Sciences and their vision for the next 100 years.

The life of a research nurse: supporting the Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

Research nurses in the NHS are playing a crucial role in helping to trial new coronavirus treatments and vaccines. Three NDS research nurses stepped up to help with the fight against this new disease. Here Bhumika Patel shares her experience of working on the Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine Trial.

Why I became a Peer Supporter

The Peer Support Programme was developed in recognition of the essential role students play in supporting and encouraging one another on a day-to-day basis throughout their time at university. NDS’ own Helen Stark discusses her experience of becoming a Peer Supporter.