Prolonged Heart Storage Using Sub-Zero Temperatures & Antifreeze Proteins

Heart transplantation depends on being able to move a donor heart from the location of harvest to the hospital where it will be implanted, and having the heart work once it is implanted. The time between excision and implantation is called the ischemic time. The safe ischemic time is about 4 to 6 hrs; hearts implanted after this interval have much less chance of survival. This safe ischemic time has not changed in > 30 years. Extending this ischemic time would allow transportation of donor hearts from longer distances, potentially increasing the number of matches between donors and recipients, thus increasing the number of transplants. In this experiment, we propose to test a novel method of storing hearts at sub-zero temperatures which should extend the time dramatically. Preliminary studies with a variety of tissues and cell lines have been very promising. This series of experiments to be supported by this grant will use a standard isolated rat heart preparation. If it proves successful, we will then test it in subsequent studies of more complex systems. The method involves the use of antifreeze proteins and other additives in a solution which will be flushed into the hearts of rats.

Faculty Supervisor:

Drs. Michael Adams & Andrew Hamilton


Kristin McCabe


Cryostasis Ltd.


Biochemistry / Molecular biology


Life sciences


Queen's University



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