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D. Improving Liver Transplant Techniques

Narrator: This is Science Today. A new liver transplant technique developed at UCLA is generating much hope in a field which lacks donors. Dr. Ronald Busittil says this new method involves taking a liver out of a brain dead donor, then splitting the organ between an adult and a child. While there are other centers performing split liver transplants, Busittil says UCLA's technique is unique.

Busittil: Most of them are doing them with the ex-vivo technique, they take the whole organ out of the cadaver and then bring it back to their hospital and then cut it on the ice. It takes several hours, this doesn't allow the organ to function as well.

Narrator: Splitting the liver inside the cadaver, Busittil says, better preserves the organ.

Busittil: This is not only a new technique, it's a new technique which has very rapidly acquired a very good track record in that it's clearly a significant innovation that is really advancing liver transplantation.

Narrator: The bottom line, Busittil says, is people won't have to wait as long for a lifesaving liver transplant. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.