Monday, 11 August 2014

Liver transplants: pre-transplant preservation period extended

The Parliamentary Information Office of the Parliamentary Yearbook reports on the development of a new “supercooling” technique which extends the amount of time that rat livers can remain viable outside the body prior to transplantation. If successful in humans, the new technique could more than triple the amount of storage time for organs, opening up the possibility of world-wide allocation of donor organs.

Organ transplants are one of the miracles of modern medicine.  The procedure helps around 3,000 people in the UK take on a new lease of life each year.  Despite this, organ shortage is a universal problem and there are currently around 10,000 people in the UK in need of a transplant. Figures from NHS Blood and Transplant indicate that up to 1,000 people die each year due to a shortage of donor organs, the equivalent of 3 people per day.

Over the course of the last century, organ transplantation has overcome major technical limitations. However, one of the main challenges for organ transplantation remains the fact that once the supply of oxygen and nutrients to an organ is cut off, its cells begin to deteriorate by the hour. This means that the process of organ matching, allocation and transplant is time critical.

To assist with this, scientists have developed preservation solutions that enable organs to be stored outside the body whilst preserving function, but only for a very limited period of time. Extending this window of opportunity would provide many benefits. Consequently, current research in this area has been directed at techniques to improve organ preservation.

A new technique has recently been demonstrated which may improve the practice of organ storage for transplantation.  The new system - developed at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, USA, - allowed the successful transplantation of rat livers after preservation for as long as four days, more than tripling the amount of time organs can currently be preserved.

Using current technology livers can be preserved outside the body for a maximum of 24 hours.  This technology relies on a combination of cold temperatures and a chemical solution which prevents the liver tissue from dying during transit.

The new system uses protective solutions and machine perfusion, but crucially it involves a specific protocol for “supercooling” organs to below freezing temperatures. The procedure - which so far has only been tested on rats - has recently been described in Nature Medicine. 

For the procedure, donor livers taken from rats were attached to a machine perfusion (an artificial body that supports basic organ function) and flushed with a mixture of 2 protective solutions. In the first instance the livers were cooled to 4oC. The organs were then submerged in the protective solution mix and cooled to -6oC.  They were subsequently stored at this temperature for either 72hr (3 days) or 96 hours (4 days).  At the end of this time organ temperature was gradually increased to 4oC. The organs were machine-perfused with solution once again at room temperature for three hours.  The organs were then transplanted into healthy rats which were monitored for a period of 3 months.

The results showed that all the animals that received organs that had been super cooled for 72 hours remained healthy at the end of 3 month follow up period.  The survival rate for rats that had received livers stored for 96 hours was 58%.

The researchers note that further work is needed before the approach can be applied to humans.  However, the study has important implications for the future of organ transplantation.  The longer donated organs can be stored, the better the chances of finding best patient match; the longer period also extends the time which doctors and patients have to prepare for surgery.

Senior co-author Yarmin Yarmush, founding director of Massachusetts General Hospital Centre for Engineering in Medicine and a faculty member of Harvard Medical School, commented on this in a press release on the hospital’s website.  He said: “By reducing the damage that can occur during preservation and transportation, our supercooling protocol may permit the use of livers currently considered marginal - something we will be investigating - which could further reduce the long waiting lists for transplants.”

Friday, 18 January 2013


In its report on the Government’s draft Energy Bill in July this year, 2012, the Parliamentary Information Office highlighted the divisions on future energy policy that existed between the Government coalition partners. Yesterday, 22nd November 2012, having reached agreement the Government published details of its long-awaited Energy Bill.

Details of the bill were announced late last night although the bill itself will not be published until next week.

The Energy and Climate Change Secretary, the Rt Hon Ed Davey MP said:
“This is a durable agreement across the Coalition against which companies can invest and support jobs and our economic recovery.

“The decisions we’ve reached are true to the Coalition Agreement, they mean we can introduce the Energy Bill next week and have essential electricity market reforms up and running by 2014 as planned.

“They will allow us to meet our legally binding carbon reduction and renewable energy obligations and will bring on the investment required to keep the lights on and bills affordable for consumers.”

With a fifth of the UK’s electricity generating capacity due to close this decade, reforms are needed to provide certainty to investors to bring forward £110 billion investment in new infrastructure to keep the lights on and continue the shift to a diverse, low carbon economy as cheaply as possible. It will support as many as 250,000 jobs in the energy sector.

Mr Davey announced a package of decisions around the Energy Bill:

The creation of a Government-owned company to act as a single counterparty to give investors confidence to enter into new long term Contracts for Difference for low carbon electricity projects.
Powers to introduce a capacity market, allowing for capacity auctions from 2014 for delivery of capacity in the winter of 2018/19, if needed, to help ensure the lights stay on even at times of peak demand. The Government is also seeking to provide certainty to gas investors and a Gas Generation Strategy will be published alongside the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
An amendment during passage of the Bill to take powers to set a decarbonisation target range for 2030 in secondary legislation. A decision to exercise this power will be taken once the Climate Change Committee has provided advice in 2016 on the 5th Carbon Budget which covers the corresponding period. In the meantime, the Government will issue guidance to National Grid setting out an indicative range of decarbonisation scenarios for the power sector in 2030 consistent with the least cost approach to the UK’s 2050 carbon target and reflecting both the existing fourth carbon budget and a scenario in which it is reviewed up, as outlined when the budget was set.

The amount of market support to be available for low carbon electricity investment (under the Levy Control Framework) up to 2020 has also been agreed. This will be set at £7.6 billion (real 2012 prices) in 2020, which corresponds to around or £9.8 billion (nominal 2020 prices). This will help diversify our energy mix to avoid excessive gas import dependency by increasing the amount of electricity coming from renewables from 11% today to around 30% by 2020, as well as supporting new nuclear power and carbon capture and storage commercialisation. It is broadly consistent with the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation. It will provide certainty to investors in all generation technologies and provide protection to consumers.

The chairman of the Commons Energy Select Committee, Tim Yeo MP, however said that it was worrying that the government had not introduced an emissions goal for 2030:

"There will be concern that the government hasn't accepted the full implications - which are already clear - of the extent to which electricity generation needs to be decarbonised by 2030".

The Bill includes provisions on:

Electricity Market Reform
Electricity Market Reform (EMR) will bring about the biggest transformation of the UK’s electricity sector since privatisation. The reforms introduce two key mechanisms: Contracts for Difference and the powers to implement a Capacity Market that will help to attract the £110 billion of private sector investment we need to replace ageing energy infrastructure with a more diverse and low-carbon energy mix.

Contracts for Difference (CfDs)
A new mechanism that will be introduced via the Energy Bill. CfDs are long term contracts that provide stable revenues for investors in low carbon energy projects at a fixed level known as a strike price. These contracts will help developers secure the large upfront amounts of capital investment required for low carbon infrastructure such as nuclear powers stations, offshore wind farms or carbon capture and storage plants. By providing a fixed price they will help lower the cost of capital. They will protect consumers from high bills by clawing back money from generators if the market price of electricity rises above the strike price.

Government will establish a new body to act as a single counterparty to the CfDs with eligible generators. The counterparty will have levy-raising powers to enable it to raise funds from suppliers to meet its costs, including payments to generators. This was a key recommendation of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.

Capacity Market

A Capacity Market will provide an insurance policy for Government against future supply shortages, helping to ensure that consumers continue to receive reliable electricity supplies at an affordable cost. There is an increased risk to security of electricity supplies towards the end of the decade as a fifth of our existing capacity is set to close and more intermittent (wind) and inflexible (nuclear) generation will be built over time to replace it. Ofgem and National Grid will forecast where there could be shortages in supply and, if needed, auction for capacity in advance to ensure we have enough energy backup to meet consumer demand.

Decarbonisation Target
The Government is committed to meeting the legally binding decarbonisation targets as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008, and economy-wide carbon budgets. The Government will take a power in the forthcoming Energy Bill to set a decarbonisation range in secondary legislation.
The power will provide for flexibility in the setting or reviewing of the range by consideration of wider economic factors. The decision on whether to set a range for carbon emissions in 2030 will be taken when the Committee on Climate Change has provided advice in 2016 on the 5th Carbon Budget which will cover the corresponding period (2028 – 2033), and once the Government has set that budget.

Levy Control Framework
The Levy Control Framework (LCF) forms part of the Government’s public spending framework, which the Treasury has responsibility for. Its purpose is to make sure that DECC achieves its fuel poverty, energy and climate change goals in a way that is consistent with economic recovery and minimising the impact on consumer bills. The LCF budget is currently £2.35 billion for low carbon electricity in 2012/13. Under the agreement announced today low carbon electricity spending under the LCF will rise to £7.6bn in real terms in 2020/21. The final limit will be set in nominal terms on revised ONS and OBR numbers in the New Year. On current figures this would equate to £9.8bn in 2020/21. The spending settlement announced today does not cover the ECO or Warm Homes Discount, which have separate spending limits to 2015.

The Parliamentary Information Office of the Parliamentary Yearbook will continue to report on the progress of the bill as we go through the months ahead.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Discussion on Wind Farms

Online Parliamentary Yearbook Shares: The Scottish Borders must be some dire, bleak and inhospitable wasteland if this is going to be inflicted upon it. What? It's not like that? Then why....?

Online Parliamentary Yearbook Shares: So, despite endless proof that these monstrosities are dangerous to wildlife, never actually pay for themselves and would never be built without tax payer subsidy and barely provide a low single digit  percentage of energy needs they're still building them?

It's time to follow the money and cut it off - permanently.

If Scotland wants to produce energy, do so with thorium reactors.

Parliamentary Yearbook and Review are updated in the Year 2013 Parliamentary Information Office

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

About the Planning

Online Parliamentary Yearbook Shares: " There appears to have been a rise in the number of so-called trolley-rage incidents in recent years as more shoppers ignore traditional high street shops and choose to visit large supermarkets."

If Newport do not want another out of town centre competing with their local shops then they clearly have a fight on their hands- but this comment above belies Sainsbury's claims that their proposed store will not have any impact and will in fact improve shopping in the town centre ( which it wont because people will drive to Sainsbury's , do their one stop shop, as Sainsbury's does electricals, books, cds, dvds, stationery and clothes as well, and then go home- they wont on the whole decide to do an add on trip into Newport for an alternative experience.

Online Parliamentary Yearbook Shares: Our sclerotic planning system put a brake on economic growth and on job creation at a time when we really need some.  And it has left us with 5 million people waiting for homes while successive governments have presided over an ever-declining number of new home being built each year - an unnecessary  scarcity which also fuelled the inflationary bubble which burst so spectacularly in 2008.

Significant information on parliamentary information office reviews

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Discussion on Apprenticeship

Online Parliamentary Yearbook Shares: A DT story says that a government scheme to attract 1000 immigrant scientists/engineers only attracted 50.
Britain is a soul less debt slave nation of no-hoper multiculti, celeb loving, tax slaves.
Why would any intelligent person come to Britain unless paid by a multinational company that had nothing to do with government, and its tax slaves?

Apprenticeships were always more productive than university brats, and it is too late and too insulting that Britain's lazy class admits this now that its socialist ways have run out of money.

Online Parliamentary Yearbook Shares: I work in banking IT. A degree is almost de rigueur, post-grad or PhD now a now a pre-requisite for some areas. But some of the best people I have worked with do not have degrees, and would be simply excluded. Much better to import foreign PhDs, because they can't find "good" people they have excluded by the selection process (or alternatively import lots of cheap developers from India or where-ever, or out-source which generally doesn't work well)

Parliamentary information office news updates

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Wind Farms and Homes

Online Parliamentary Yearbook Shares: Wind turbines are only 30% efficient; the only people who gain from them are wealthy farmers and land owners such as David Cameron’s father-in-law who rakes in £1,000 a day for having them on his land; members of the royal family enjoy the same perks, the losers are working class people who are forced to pay to subsidies them under the green tax rip-off.

Online Parliamentary Yearbook Shares: If the ghastly trougher Tim Yeo gets his way the restriction will have to be no closer than 1.4 yards from the nearest dwelling.  Even then there will be no electricity when the wind doesn't blow - i.e. this morning the follies are producing less than 10% of their claimed capacity.

Collection of parliamentary information office articles

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Business Advisors

Online Parliamentary Yearbook Shares: Im busy doing nothing working the whole day through
try ing to find lot of things not to do
Im busy going nowhere isnt it such a crime
I,d like to be unhappy but i really dont  have the time

Online Parliamentary Yearbook Shares: Well to me it just looks like the "advisers" were so out of touch, they didnt know what was happening around them.  If you didnt know you were likely to be sacked then you really were not all that plugged in to the world around you!

Other topics as more blog post at parliamentary information office.