The researchers were able to restore the structure and function of the five damaged donor lungs for 24 hours connecting them to the circulatory system of pigs. As noted in an article for the journal Nature Medicine, an experimental method was more effective than the modern apparatus for perfusion of the lungs. This gives hope that the number of donor lungs suitable for transplant, it will be possible to significantly increase.
Human lung transplantation is a difficult task. The fact that this body is extremely sensitive to the effects of the environment and just a few hours outside the body can become unsuitable for transplant. In an attempt to repair damage to the donor lung transplant put them under a glass dome and is connected to the device for perfusion ex-vivo (EVLP), however, even this approach does not always guarantee success.
A team of researchers led by Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic (Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic ) at Columbia University have developed an alternative method of preserving donor lungs. Instead of artificially pumped through oxygenated and nutrient fluid, they offered to attach them to the circulatory system of live pigs. Previous experiments have shown that for animals, this procedure is non-hazardous. Experimental individuals, which were used to maintain the lungs of other pigs could feed and play, and after the experience did not show health problems.
In the new study, the authors had to prove that the connection to the pig really can restore the human lungs. To do this, they took six unfit for transplantation of donor organs. One of the lungs and spent five hours in the office of EVLP and in total was outside of the body during the day.
Light for 24 hours hooked up to vessels on the neck of anesthetized pigs using tubes. To reduce the risk of rejection in the circulatory system of the five animals were added to immunosuppressants (sixth pig served as a control). Simultaneously, through the lungs artificially pumped the air.
To connect to pigs at the surface of lungs there was a lot of damaged areas, but after the structure of tissues and the ability to enrich the blood with oxygen is greatly increased. Although the bodies were not completely recovered to the normal state, they have met the requirements transplant. To help we even managed a light, which did not respond to the treatment apparatus EVLP. Only worsened the condition of the body that was connected to the pig who did not receive immunosuppressants: it was rejected within the hour.