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LifeSource Joins Biostasis Research Institute to Initiate Human “Organ Bank”

MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Minnesota is one of two institutions in the United States to host a new center established by the Biostasis Research Institute (BRI) aimed at creating human organ banks through the cryogenic storage of organs donated for transplantation.

BRI is launching and funding the Organ and Tissue Preservation Center at the U of M, which will focus on technologies to safely and rapidly rewarm cryopreserved organs and other living systems. This center will be housed within the U of M Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) and will be led by IEM Director John Bischof and Medical School Department of Surgery faculty member Erik Finger.

“By funding biostasis research, we are investing in the future of organ donation and transplantation. This initiative advances the LifeSource mission: to honor the heroism of every organ donor by maximizing the impact of their life-saving gifts,” said Susan Gunderson, CEO of BRI founding supporter LifeSource — the Organ Procurement Organization serving Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Western Wisconsin.

Together with a sister research center at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Organ and Tissue Preservation Center will develop new technologies to store tissues and organs for biomedical research as part of a larger “Apollo Program” in cryopreservation (extreme cold storage) and suspended animation (safely slowing and stopping biological processes). This national research effort has now reached well over $100 million in funding from U.S. science agencies, philanthropic donors and industry partners. 

This initiative aims to reduce time on the waiting list for future transplant recipients and allow for many others to become organ donors – a rare opportunity due to current medical criteria. This incredible work will advance the LifeSource mission to honor the heroism of every organ donor by maximizing the impact of their life-saving gifts.


About the Biostasis Research Institute (BRI)

The BRI is founded and funded by five U.S. organ procurement organizations, the nonprofits designated by the U.S. government to coordinate all donation of organs for transplantation within a geographic area. These include LifeGift (Houston, TX), Nevada Donor Network (Las Vegas, NV), Donor Network West (San Ramon, CA), LifeSource (Minneapolis, MN), and Lifebanc (Cleveland, OH). Other founders and donors include the Organ Preservation Alliance, Bitcoin philanthropic foundation the Pineapple Fund, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, Massachusetts General Hospital’s Department of Surgery, the University of Minnesota Medical School, and Organ Preservation Alliance co-founders Jedediah Lewis and Dr. Sebastian Giwa.

About LifeSource
LifeSource is the federally designated, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) serving Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. We partner with hospitals, support families through the organ, eye and tissue donation process and deliver life-saving transplants to recipients who need them. We also educate our communities about the impact of donation and encourage people to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. Visit www.Life-Source.org for details.

For more information:

Blog post: New Research Aims to Stop Biological Time, More Help for Those Waiting

News coverage: KARE 11; KSTP Ch. 5