University of Pittsburgh Brings Dead Dogs Back to Life
Pitt Scientists Resurrect Hope of Cheating Death
JENNIFER BAILS / Pittsburg Tribune-Review 29jun2005
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Horror buffs rolled out the red carpet for the Pittsburgh opening of "Land of the Dead," the latest in hometown filmmaker George Romero's series of zombie movies.
As fans of gore sporting ghoulish attire lined Downtown sidewalks before the premiere, trauma surgeons from across the country began to gather at the University of Pittsburgh for the third annual Safar Symposium, where they learned that raising people from the dead might not be a celluloid fantasy.
Scientists at Pitt's Safar Center for Resuscitation Research in Oakland announced at the meeting last week that they have found a way to revive dogs three hours after clinical death — an hour longer than in previous experiments, said the center's director, Dr. Patrick Kochanek.
Dr. Patrick M Kochanek is Director of the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research and is a tenured Professor in the Department of Critical Care Medicine with secondary appointments in Pediatrics and Anesthesiology. He is also one of the Vice Chairmen of Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Kochanek received his MD from the University of Chicago in 1980. After a residency in pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego he did a pediatric critical care fellowship at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. During his fellowship, he trained in the area of experimental brain ischemia under Dr. John Hallenbeck at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Kochanek has been a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh since 1986. He has directed the highly successful Pediatric Critical Care Medicine research effort and since 1994, has followed in the footsteps of the renowned Dr. Peter Safar as the Director of the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research. Dr. Kochanek’s major research focus is on mechanisms of secondary damage after severe traumatic brain injury. His bench to bedside work in this area has been continuously supported by NINDS/NIH since 1995. Among his accomplishments, he was named the first Established Investigator of the Society of Critical Care Medicine in 1993, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Pediatric Critical Care Medicine in 2000 and is on the Editorial Boards of both Critical Care Medicine and the Journal of Neurotrauma. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research and on the Council of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Under his leadership, the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research has continued to grow and is an inter-departmental resource with over 14 million dollars of extramural governmental funding.
source: http://www.safar.pitt.edu/content/archive/bios/kochanek_patrick.html 14jul2005
DAMD17-01-2-0038 Safar (PI) 09/15/98 – 9/14/03
Study I: To maximize resuscitability in dogs from traumatic Exs CA of 60 min to CA of 120 min no-flow.
Study II: To help increase feasibility of SA induction in the field by tests in dogs.
Study III: To start exploring the limits of resuscitability during prolonged clinical death in rats in a systematic basic science plot project to identify chemical markers and histologic markers of cell death during CA without reperfusion, by focusing on mitochondria in brain and other vital organs under various temperatures.
Source of Support: U.S. Army Medical Research & Materiel Command
source: http://www.ccm.upmc.edu/archive/faculty/bios/kochanek.html 14jul2005
Clinical death occurs when the heart stops pumping, breathing stops and brain activity ends.
These data aren't published yet, but the center hopes to begin human clinical trials within a year on a protocol they hope could revolutionize trauma care by saving people in cardiac arrest because of massive blood loss.
"This is a very exciting finding because of its potential implications for resuscitating what would otherwise be fatally wounded people," Kochanek said.
It also quickly became the stuff of urban legend.
The British tabloid press caught wind of this work and a series of hair-raising stories began to circulate on the Internet last weekend referring to "zombie dogs," complete with inflammatory werewolf photos. The stories have made their way through cyberspace to media outlets as far away as Australia.
"It's so unfair and so bizarre," Kochanek said. "Somebody must have thought the title 'zombie dog' would be a catchy phrase. Obviously they were right, but obviously that is the farthest thing from what we are doing, which is trying to save lives."
Soldiers in combat and gunshot or stabbing victims often bleed to death because medics don't have enough time to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or deliver blood. This type of injury kills about 50,000 Americans every year and is the leading cause of death among troops killed in action, said nationally recognized trauma surgeon Dr. Howard Champion, who lives in Annapolis, Md.
In the 1980s, Dr. Peter Safar — inventor of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and founder of the center that bears his name — collaborated with Army officials to develop a novel "big chill" concept for bringing people back to life after their hearts stop beating because of massive blood loss.
Safar, who died two years ago, proposed flushing the circulatory system with an ice-cold salt solution, which would drop the core body temperature to about 50 degrees compared to the usual 98.6 degrees.
Cooling the body in this way would buy extra time to transport injured soldiers or trauma victims in cardiac arrest to the hospital, Safar reasoned. The cold temperature would have a preserving effect so no damage would occur to tissues and organs, even though the heart would be stopped.
"The idea is to preserve the victim for just a little while in this state called suspended animation so the surgeons can locate bleeding sites and make the necessary repairs," Kochanek said.
Patients could then be revived by slowly pumping warm blood back into their bodies and administering a brief electric shock to their hearts.
"When you think in terms of huge advances in the care of the badly injured person, this has the potential to be, if not the greatest advance, one of the greatest advances of all time," said Dr. Thomas Scalea, physician-in-chief at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
"As potentially crazy as this might sound, you're comparing it against essentially certain death, so it's hard to see how we can do any worse," said Scalea, who attended the symposium at Pitt. "All of us are incredibly energized by the thought of being able to do better."
How long can you turn off the body's machinery and still allow for normal recovery?
Past animal experiments paid for by grants from the U.S. Department of Defense and conducted by Kochanek and his colleague Dr. Samuel Tisherman, the Safar center's associate director, found that two hours was the limit.
At the symposium, however, the Pitt doctors announced they could extend that to three hours by adding tiny amounts of glucose and dissolved oxygen to the cold saline solution. The mixture acted to preserve energy levels, which kept the body in suspended animation without brain injury for an hour longer in two-thirds of the 24 dogs tested, Kochanek said.
"We weren't terribly optimistic this would work, but lo and behold, it was effective," Kochanek said about the experiments, which began six months ago.
Preliminary discussions began at the symposium about the logistics of taking the next step — testing suspended animation in people.
"We need to transport this to the human environment and see if we can develop a study that proves this can save lives," Champion said.
Kochanek and his colleagues still have to answer a lot of questions, but they are confident they will succeed.
"I bet people said Peter Safar was silly when he invented closed-chest CPR," Scalea sad "Anybody that's silly enough to bet against Peter Safar is a very foolish individual. If he says it will work, it will work. Now it's just a matter of making it happen."
source: http://pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/trib/regional/s_348517.html 14jul2005
Boffins* Create Zombie Dogs
NICK BUCHAN / The Australian 29jun2005
SCIENTISTS have created eerie zombie dogs, reanimating the canines after several hours of clinical death in attempts to develop suspended animation for humans.
US scientists have succeeded in reviving the dogs after three hours of clinical death, paving the way for trials on humans within years. Pittsburgh's Safar Centre for Resuscitation Research has developed a technique in which subject's veins are drained of blood and filled with an ice-cold salt solution.
The animals are considered scientifically dead, as they stop breathing and have no heartbeat or brain activity.
But three hours later, their blood is replaced and the zombie dogs are brought back to life with an electric shock.
Plans to test the technique on humans should be realised within a year, according to the Safar Centre.
However rather than sending people to sleep for years, then bringing them back to life to benefit from medical advances, the boffins would be happy to keep people in this state for just a few hours,
But even this should be enough to save lives such as battlefield casualties and victims of stabbings or gunshot wounds, who have suffered huge blood loss.
During the procedure blood is replaced with saline solution at a few degrees above zero. The dogs' body temperature drops to only 7C, compared with the usual 37C, inducing a state of hypothermia before death.
Although the animals are clinically dead, their tissues and organs are perfectly preserved.
Damaged blood vessels and tissues can then be repaired via surgery. The dogs are brought back to life by returning the blood to their bodies,giving them 100 per cent oxygen and applying electric shocks to restart their hearts.
Tests show they are perfectly normal, with no brain damage.
"The results are stunning. I think in 10 years we will be able to prevent death in a certain segment of those using this technology," said one US battlefield doctor.
source: http://www.news.com.au/story/print/0,10119,15739502,00.html 14jul2005
* Boffin defined — In the slang of the United Kingdom, boffins are scientists, engineers, and other people who are stereotypically seen as engaged in technical or scientific research. The word conjures up images of older men in thick spectacles and white lab coats working with complicated chemical apparatus. source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boffin 14jul2005
A Statement from the University of Pittsburgh and the
Safar Center for Resuscitation Research
Research at the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research is focused on topics across the field of resuscitation medicine, particularly those important to the life-saving treatment of victims of trauma, head injury, cardiopulmonary arrest, and shock. The research of the Safar Center benefits victims of conditions such as severe motor vehicle accidents and other forms of civilian trauma, combat casualties, heart attack, and both natural and man-made disasters. The Center has used a “laboratory bench to clinical bedside” approach that is facilitated by scientists and clinicians working closely together. Models ranging from cell culture through to human subject investigation are utilized.
The Center’s recent studies on emergency hypothermia are designed to mimic the scenario of a combat casualty or civilian trauma victim who has experienced an otherwise lethal hemorrhage. Hemorrhage can cause death in a very short span of time; often in a matter of minutes. The research has shown that markedly lowering body temperature with a cold flush solution can preserve the viability of the victim’s vital functions for a significantly longer length of time; in some cases over two hours. The ultimate goal is that this procedure will buy time for surgical repair of the wounds and thus save lives. These novel studies provide the possibility of an important new approach to the resuscitation and treatment of otherwise lethal traumatic injuries. This new approach has been called “suspended animation with delayed resuscitation” or “applied emergency hypothermia.”
All investigations using animals at the Center are carried out with general anesthesia comparable to the standards used in the treatment of human beings. Rigorous attention is paid to the use of pain medications, national standards for ensuring the general welfare of the animals are adhered to, and there is stringent oversight by the veterinary staff of the University of Pittsburgh.
The University of Pittsburgh assesses on a project-by-project basis ethical issues associated with the use of animals in research and complies with all of the relevant federal laws, regulations and guidelines governing the care and welfare of animal research subjects. The University voluntarily undergoes a regular intensive program review and inspection by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International, the independent, international accrediting body for organizations and institutions involved in animal-based research. In addition, several governmental agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health, inspect the University’s animal facilities and review our animal care program to assure the University's adherence to their rigorous standards. All investigators involved in the conduct of animal research studies complete education and training programs directed at minimizing pain and distress to animal subjects.
The University's biomedical research programs have a rich history of improving the human condition through landmark discoveries such as the Salk polio vaccine, organ transplantation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). None of these achievements would have been possible without research employing animal models. All research involving animal subjects performed at the University adheres to the highest standards both scientifically and in the humane treatment of animal subjects.
The Safar Center was initiated as the International Resuscitation Research Center (IRRC) in 1979 by the late Dr. Peter Safar. In the late 1950s, Dr. Safar pioneered the development of the technique of "mouth-to-mouth" resuscitation, and he is generally considered to be the father of modern cardiopulmonary resuscitation—known as CPR. In 1994, Dr. Safar stepped down as director of the IRRC in a desire to transfer leadership to the next generation. Dr. Patrick Kochanek's first act as new director of the IRRC was to rename the facility the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research in honor of its founder. Between 1979 and 2004, this multidisciplinary center trained over 100 physician-scientists and scientists.
source: http://www.safar.pitt.edu/content/news/2005/news/statement.htm 14jul2005
US Boffins Resurrect Zombie Dogs
LESTER HAINES / The Register (UK) 29jun2005
US scientists at the [Safar Centre for Resuscitation Research in Pittsburgh] are celebrating ground-breaking research during which they successfully raised dogs from the grave after several hours of "clinical death".
According to news.com.au, the technique involves draining the mutts' blood and replacing it with a saline solution a couple of degrees above zero. The body temperature drops to around 7°C, provoking a cessation of breathing, heart and brain activity and rendering the subject officially dead.
To reanimate the zombie canine, the latter-day Herbert Wests reintroduce the blood while administering 100 per cent oxygen and electric shocks to jump-start the heart. The dog is apparently none the worse for its near-permanent-death experience and reportedly suffers no physical or brain damage as a result of this macabre experiment. We assume that post-resurrection mental capacity is judged by throwing a stick across the lab and seeing if the four-legged member of the Tontons Macoutes runs after it with tail-wagging enthusiasm.
Naturally, there is some perfectly legitimate science behind all this. The team reckons the technique could be used to temporarily suspend battlefield casualties, during which surgeons could repair the damage before jump-starting the bewildered grunt. One unnamed army doc enthused: "The results are stunning. I think in 10 years we will be able to prevent death in a certain segment of those using this technology."
The scientists plan to reanimate a human subject within a year. Any reader wishing to participate in this historic moment is advised to wrap up warm and fully acquaint him or herself with the works of HP Lovecraft.
Bootnote *Ok, we made that up. It's actually the Safar Centre for Resuscitation Research in Pittsburgh.
source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/06/29/zombie_dogs/print.html 14jul2005
Dead Dogs Brought Back to Life
East Bay Daily News 28jun2005
American scientists have succeeded in bringing dogs back to life three hours after clinical death, paving the way for trials on humans within years.
The (Sydney) Australian newspaper reported yesterday that doctors at Pittsburgh’s Safar Center for Resuscitation Research have developed a technique in which a canine’s veins are drained of blood after their death and filled with an ice-cold salt solution.
Blood is replaced
The animals are considered scientifically dead, as they stop breathing and have no heartbeat or brain activity. But three hours later, their blood is replaced and the zombie dogs are brought back to life with an electric shock. The technique could be tested on humans within a year, according to the Safar Center.
However rather than sending people to sleep for years, then bringing them back to life to benefit from medical advances, the scientists would be happy to keep people in this state for just a few hours.
But even this should be enough to save lives such as battlefield casualties and victims of stabbings or gunshot wounds, who have suffered huge blood loss.
During the procedure blood is replaced with saline solution at a few degrees above zero. The dogs’ body temperature drops to only 32 degrees, compared with the usual 98.6 degrees, inducing a state of hypothermia before death. Although the animals are clinically dead, their tissues and organs are perfectly preserved.
Damaged blood vessels and tissues can then be repaired via surgery. The dogs are brought back to life by returning the blood to their bodies, giving them 100 per cent oxygen and applying electric shocks to restart their hearts. Tests show they are perfectly normal, with no brain damage.
“The results are stunning. I think in 10 years we will be able to prevent death in a certain segment of those using this technology,” said one doctor quoted by the Australian newspaper.
source: http://ebdailynews.com/back/062805.html 14jul2005