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Columbia University researchers demonstrate damaged lungs can be regenerated to meet transplantation criteria

A multidisciplinary team from Columbia Engineering and Vanderbilt University has demonstrated in a clinically relevant model that severely damaged lungs can be regenerated to meet transplantation criteria, according to a Columbia announcement.
The research could help the address the problem of a shortage of donor organs for patients, according to the announcement.
 
Lung transplantation is severely limited by the number of available donor organs. Currently, up to 80% of donor lungs are rejected for serious but potentially reversible injuries.

In a study published on Nature Communications' website, the researchers describe the cross-circulation platform that maintained the viability and function of the donor lung and the stability of the recipient for 36 to 56 hours.

The team, co-led by BMES Fellow Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, University Professor and The Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Sciences at Columbia Engineering, and Matthew Bacchetta, the H. William Scott Professor of Surgery at Vanderbilt University and adjunct professor at Columbia's department of biomedical engineering, also developed new diagnostic tools for the non-invasive evaluation of the regenerating lung. They expect their advance will lead to an increase in the number of lungs for transplant, through the recovery of severely damaged lungs that are currently unsuitable for clinical use.

Brandon Guenthart, a lead author of the study, explains “to support lung recovery and to demonstrate cellular regeneration, we had to pursue a radically different approach and develop more minimally invasive diagnostics.” Guenthart is also a BMES member.

A previous study from the team demonstrated a cross-circulation platform that maintained the viability and function of a donor lung for 36 hours. The researchers were able to use their advanced support system to fully recover the functionality of lungs injured by ischemia (restricted blood supply) and make them suitable for transplant.

Read more HERE.