In October 2009, Thatte and his colleagues published a paper in the journal Circulation comparing Somah to the widely used preservation solution Celsior, made by biotech company Genzyme.
The researchers harvested hearts from female pigs, stored them in one of the two solutions, then biopsied them at several points over the next four hours.
They observed the function of the cardiomyocyte and endothelial cells–both of which must be preserved in order for the transplanted heart to survive over the long term. By measuring key proteins, they determined that the rate of cell death was significantly slower in the Somah-preserved hearts than it was in those stored with Celsior.
Their experiments in pigs suggest that Somah keeps hearts and livers viable for at least 10 days. By contrast, solutions such as Celsior can only be counted on to preserve hearts and livers for about four and 12 hours, respectively.
SOMAH is still a year or more away from clinical trial and experts are, however, sceptical about its week-long claim but Dr Thatte believes Somah's biggest advantage is that it can be used at room temperatures.
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