Damage Lung

A new technique to rehabilitate lungs that are too damage to consider for transplant; which benefit an increasing population of patients with end stage lung disease. About 80% of the already limit supply of donor lungs are too damage to consider for transplantation, according to senior author Matthew Bacchetta, MD, MBA, MA, associate professor of Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Doctors time to rehabilitate

Bacchetta and colleagues from Columbia University publish a study; so today in Nature Communications that demonstrates a cross-circulation technique can maintain lungs for 36 hours; hence giving doctors time to rehabilitate the lungs and test new interventions. The regenerate lungs also met criteria for transplantation; which isn’t possible with current methods that provide doctors about six hours to assess the lungs and not enough time to rehabilitate them.

Our work has establish a new benchmark in organ recovery,” Bacchetta said. “It has open up new pathways for translational applications and basic science exploration. They have literally spent years refining this technology to improve the recovery and regeneration of organs.

The new method could also be study for other damage organs; so such as hearts, kidneys and livers, he added. The procedure to regenerate damage lungs by interventional cross circulation is in progress. Regenerating lungs are maintain within an organ chamber (left) next to the the anesthetize recipient (right). Credit: Dr. Brandon Guenthart.

The Lungs injury

Bacchetta’s study focus on lungs injury by gastric aspiration, or the introduction of material from the stomach to the lungs; so because many lungs reject for transplant have gastric aspiration or a similar type of caustic injury. His study method to regenerate lungs in animal models; which result in significantly improve lung function, cellular regeneration, and time to develop diagnostic tools for non-invasive organ evaluation and repair.

As doctors refine the new technique, Bacchetta foresees expanding the 36-hour window to work on organs to days or even weeks, allowing more time to not only rehabilitate organs but also explore new techniques of repairing them. Columbia Engineering and Vanderbilt researchers are first to demonstrate in a clinically relevant model that severely damage lungs can be regenerate to meet transplantation criteria; findings could lead to increase in the number of lungs for transplant.

Further study will be require to determine how well the rehabilitate lungs function, safety of the method, and how the lungs respond to immunosuppressive drugs given after transplantation. Dr. Bacchetta and his colleagues achieve a critical advance that could increase the number of organs available for transplant and realize the goal that no patient dies waiting for an organ,” said Seth Karp, MD, H. William Scott Jr. Professor and chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences.