Feeds

Boffins keep transplant lungs alive in glass dome

'Reconditioned' organ bonanza foretold

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Canadian medi-boffins have successfully trialled a method of keeping human lungs alive outside the body. They say that this will enable them to offer "reconditioned" lungs for transplant operations.

The idea is that often transplant docs have some lungs on hand, and people needing their present ones replaced, but the available lungs aren't in good enough nick to be used.

But now, with the Toronto XVIVO Lung Perfusion System, a set of lungs can be whipped out of the donor and put into a "protective, transparent bubble-like chamber". Here they are hooked up to a "pump, ventilator and filters through which flow oxygen, nutrients and a special solution" and kept at human body temperature.

According to Dr Shaf Keshavjee of Toronto General Hospital, "lungs can be safely kept on this circuit for 12 hours in order to assess, maintain and treat them before successfully transplanting them".

Keshavjee says that such "reconditioned" organs, given a careful tune-up in the XVIVO nutrient bubble-tank, could be a boon for lung-hungry Canada - where the queue for a transplant has doubled in the last ten years.

"This new technique heralds the beginning of a new era in transplantation," said Keshavjee's Toronto General colleague Marcelo Cypel.

"It has allowed us to progress from preserving donor lungs to actually being able to repair some of the injury before transplantation. And we have done this using a unique strategy on donor lungs outside the body."

The two docs were pleased to announce the first full trial of their kit. Andy Dykstra, 56, received a pair of reconditioned lungs earlier this month and is now back at home. The XVIVO system had been tested before, but Dykstra was the first patient to receive lungs "which could not have been used if they had not been repaired first".

"Many more donor lungs which we could not have used before can now potentially be used safely," said Keshavjee.

There's a vid of a lung being kept alive under glass here, for those who'd like to see it. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring
And disclose the biggest surprise of Comet 67P
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.