Expanding Transplant Horizons

Surgeon handling a liver transplant

Expanding Transplant Horizons

An estimated 20 percent of donor livers are being turned away due to seemingly unavoidable damages like sitting on ice too long, being deprived of oxygen, being infected with viruses (such as hepatitis B or C), or being too fatty. These “high-risk” livers make a complicated situation more complex for the over 400 Canadians waiting on the liver transplant list.

Having no option but to wait even a few more days can be a life or death situation for some of these patients.

The Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF) is proud to support the work of one of our partner’s, the Canadian Donation And Transplant Research Program (CDTRP). The CDTRP is investigating numerous methods to use these “high-risk” livers safely, thereby ensuring little to no donor-livers go to waste.

Doctor markus selzner kneeling beside the OrganOx metra®

Through the use of a machine called the OrganOx metra®, donor-livers are stored in an environment mimicking that of the human body. They receive blood, are maintained at body temperature and are closely monitored by doctors—keeping the liver in great shape before a transplant. Currently, there are limited numbers of OrganOx metra® machines in Canada, but one day this technology may be a staple in every transplant centre across the country.

In 2017, these groundbreaking CDTRP clinical trials led by the teams of Dr. James Shapiro (Edmonton) and Dr. Markus Selzner (Toronto) transplanted 13 livers that would not have been otherwise unfit if using conventional storage techniques. Additionally, this trial included some livers that had been turned down by all US transplant programs before being rescued on the metra® and being transplanted safely in Canada.

Members of the CNTRP and the OrganOx metra®


The CLF would like to thank the CDTRP once again for their tremendous advancements in liver transplantation. We are proud to continue collaborating with like-minded research partners that are making giant steps towards the improvement of liver health.

With your help, we can continue to make lifesaving liver research a priority in Canada. Please give today.

2 thoughts on “Expanding Transplant Horizons

  1. This is wonderful!! Where are the two OrganOx metra machines located in Canada? Do funds raised through the LIVERight Gala’s and Stroll for Liver Walks help with purchasing these machines?

    1. Hi Jodi,

      Thanks for your comment! The OrganOx metra machines are located in Toronto and Edmonton and are being used in clinical trials by teams led by Dr. James Shapiro (Edmonton) and Dr. Markus Selzner (Toronto).

      The LIVERight Galas and STROLL for LIVER events do not directly fund these machines, but instead, provide funds for lifesaving research projects that help to understand how to better prevent, screen, diagnose, treat and cure liver diseases.

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