Vitrification as an Approach to Organ Cryopreservation: Past, Present, and Future

  • G. M. Fahy
Part of the Developments in Hematology and Immunology book series (DIHI, volume 24)


The concept of preserving organs in a viable condition outside of the human body dates at least from 1812, when LeGallois first proposed that after death of the body the human head (and therefore the individual) could be kept alive by removing it and supporting it by normothermic artificial machine perfusion [1]. History, however, has gone instead in the direction of hypothermic organ preservation, which seems to be a better option for both biological and economic reasons. The subject of this paper still lies in the future, and that is “cryothermic” preservation, i.e., preservation of organs at temperatures below −100°C. The primary advantage of this approach, should it prove to be possible, is that preservation times should become indefinite at such temperatures, thereby opening up many new and significant opportunities in transplantation medicine. This paper reviews the many steps toward the goal of organ cryopreservation by vitrification which have been taken since the beginning of this field in 1980, and also provides a very brief sketch of the rather ironic history of this area of research.


Chilling Injury Excess Enthalpy Antifreeze Protein Rabbit Kidney Vitrification Solution 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston 1990

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  • G. M. Fahy

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