Organ-transport system maker TransMedics notched a U.S. 1st in accommodating a "breathing lung" transplant at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical center.
Using the same technology that made possible the "heart in a box" experiment, in which a donor heart was delivered warm and beating to a recipient rather than frozen in an ice cooler, doctors implanted a 57-year-old man with a functioning and "breathing" lung delivered in TransMedics’ Organ Care System.
The donor lungs were removed from one patient and placed into the OCS box, where they were perfused with oxygen and maintained in a warm, functioning, monitored state.
"Organs were never meant to be frozen on ice,"Ronald Reagen medical center heart & lung transplantation program director Dr. Abbas Ardehali said in prepared remarks. "Lungs are very sensitive and can easily be damaged during the donation process."
Unlike traditional organ transport, the OCS system allows physicians to potentially improve the function of the donor lungs before they are implanted in a new patient, Abbas added.
The OCS box also allows physicians to assess the quality of organs before transplant by monitoring their function over a longer period of time, and could expand the donor pool by making possible organ transport across larger distances.
UCLA is at the forefront of the U.S. arm of TransMedics’ international, multicenter Phase II INSPIRE study of the OCS system, designed to compare organ transplantation using the device to the standard "icebox" method, according to a press release. The trial is also underway in Europe, Australia and Canada.
TransMedics earlier this month closed a $36 million equity financing round, gathering funding from 15 unnamed investors.
TransMedics’ Organ Care System is available for use and sale in European markets but is only approved for investigational use in the U.S.