Device Keeps Donor Lungs Viable

Recently, FDA approved expanding the use of TransMedics, Inc. “OCS ™ Lung System” to include donor lungs previously deemed unacceptable. The expansion should both increase the number of lungs deemed viable for transplant and offer new ways to use the donated organs.

The OCS Lung System supplies donor lungs with oxygen and nutrients through ventilation and warm perfusion. The device also measures and displays preservation parameters, such as temperature and pressure.

“Bridging the divide between a donor and a recipient has always been at the cornerstone of transplantation,” said Gabriel Loor, MD., Surgical Director of the Lung Transplant Program at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, and a participant in clinical trials, to expand usage of the OCS Lung System. Dr. Loor estimates that 80 percent of the donor organs offered to any one institution are not used, due to geographical distance, the age of the donor, or the function and mode of the organ.

The OCS Lung System is different since the system is able to reduce the time that lungs lack blood and oxygen support outside of the body. However, the system should not be used with donor lungs that have suffered moderate to severe traumatic injury with air leak, as seen on radiological studies, during a bronchial examination, or by final visual assessment in the donor’s chest.

As a result of the OCS Lung system’s recent trials, clinicians are now able to safely use organs that would have been rejected. Dr. Loor, said, “I can place the organ on the device, evaluate it for several hours, and have a glimpse of how it will function in the recipient. In addition, this device offers a huge opportunity to push lung transplantation in new directions.”

According to Dr. Loor, “Many doctors now believe that we now have an ideal setting to manipulate the organ. This may include administering gene therapy, stem cells, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Also, we may be able to change the blood type of the organ and offer more organs to more recipients, and maybe in the future, we will be able to genetically modulate the organ so it doesn’t reject.”

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