Researchers at Yale University believe they have possibly found a way to help increase the number of transplantable human organs after restoring blood circulation and other cellular functions in pigs an hour after the animals’ deaths. 

In the new study, the scientists used OrganEx, a system they developed to recirculate oxygen in the dead pigs’ body, allowing cells and other organs to be preserved after a heart attack. Dr. Nenad Sestan, who led the study, stated that the body is “not as dead as we previously assumed” after the heart stops, adding that, “We were able to show that we can persuade cells not to die.”

Stephen Latham, who co-authored the study, explained how the technology could help humans needing transplants. He explained, “I think the technology has a great deal of promise for our ability to preserve organs after they’re removed from a donor. You could take the organ from a deceased donor, and hook it up to the perfusion technology, and perhaps then be able to transport it long distance over a long period of time to get it to a recipient who needs it.”