jump to example.com

UVa. researchers aim to slash number of donated lungs that go to waste

Groundbreaking research at the University of Virginia School of Medicine that aims to dramatically increase the number of lungs that can be used for transplant has received a $3.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

uva-logoThe work seeks to use a drug developed at UVA to rehabilitate lungs that are currently deemed unusable. It could allow doctors, for the first time, to harvest, repair and use lungs from donors whose hearts are not beating, such as patients who have suffered cardiac arrest. It could also significantly increase the window of time when transplants are possible after lungs have been removed from the body, theoretically allowing a patient in Miami to receive a lung from a deceased donor in Seattle.

“We want to be able to utilize the much larger pool of potential donor lungs: the non-heart-beating donors,” said co-principal investigator Victor Laubach, PhD, of UVA’s Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. “And if we can do that using this system, we can significantly reduce or maybe even eliminate the wait list for transplants. And that would save a lot of lives.”

 

Wasted Lungs

Only 15 percent of donor lungs now end up being usable, Laubach said. The rest are discarded because they’re deemed unsuitable, often because the donor died outside a hospital, causing an unknown amount of damage to the lungs. “Fifteen percent is really a low, low number,” Laubach said. “That means there are a large number of patients on the waiting list for lungs, and many of those patients will die because they can’t get a lung in time.”

The UVA researchers, led by Laubach and co-principal investigator Irving L. Kron, MD, are testing a drug, developed at UVA, in combination with an existing technology called ex-vivo lung perfusion. Ex-vivo lung perfusion allows a lung to be removed from the body, connected to a machine and evaluated to determine how well it can function. UVA’s drug, meanwhile, has been shown to greatly reduce inflammation and damage to lungs in experimental transplantations. So the hope is that combining the two will allow doctors to rehabilitate and use lungs that now go to waste.

“There is an organ shortage due to the inability to use lungs that can be improved by this extraordinary new technology,” Kron said. “We believe this will translate to improved survival for patients with end-stage lung disease.”

 

About the NIH Grant

The five-year, $3.3 million grant, from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, will allow the UVA researchers to advance their studies, now using pigs, in hopes of one day applying the approach to humans.

The researchers also hope their work will extend the period that a lung is usable outside the body. Currently that window is typically six to eight hours; the UVA researchers hope to extend it to 24 hours or even longer.

In addition to supporting experimental pig lung transplant studies, this grant will also enable the UVA team to begin working with human lungs that are not used for transplant. “Rather than being thrown away, we’re going to bring these lungs into the lab to see if we can rehabilitate them to actually make them usable,” Laubach said. “We can assess them and hopefully confirm the findings we see in the pigs. If it all goes well, one day down the road, we will start doing this in patients.”

Discussion
 
Top News
 
a

AAA: Gas prices holding steady

Gas prices across the Mid-Atlantic region appear to be treading water as the consistent dip in prices seen for the past few weeks has begun to stall.

Street Knowledge with Chris Graham: Previewing UVA-UNC

Chris Graham previews the matchup between #14 UVA and #10 UNC in ACC Saturday Night Hoops.

Poll: Kaine with big leads in early look at 2018 U.S. Senate race

Sen. Tim Kaine has big leads on two possible big-name Republican challengers in an early, early look at his 2018 re-election race.

Staunton man arrested in drug sting

A Staunton man is behind bars after being arrested Thursday on multiple drug charges following an investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement.

David Swanson: Understanding Robert E. Lee supporters

A message to those who consider it disgraceful to have a giant statue of Robert E. Lee in the middle of Charlottesville.

Poll: Perriello, Northam tied, both lead GOP contenders for governor

Tom Perriello and Ralph Northam are tied in the race for the Democratic Party nomination for governor.

Report: About a third of Virginia farm workers are immigrants

New data emphasizes the contributions of immigrants to Virginia agriculture and the need for immigration reform.

Reality starting to sink in: Ceiling for this UVA team not as high as we thought

I feel like I just watched an overmatched UVA team lose a game in I don’t know how long.

#12 Duke rallies, tops #14 UVA, 65-55

#12 Duke beat #14 UVA at its own game, holding the Cavs to a season-low in a 65-55 win Wednesday night.

Waynesboro Salvation Army to close thrift store

The Waynesboro Salvation Army announced that its Family Thrift Store on Arch Avenue will close March 31.

 
Recent News
 

Your One-Stop Media Shop

Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including web design, magazine/brochure, TV/radio, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation.
  • Web Design

    You want a new website, but don’t have the first clue as to how to build one. That’s our job. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design and content development. Get your business online for as little as $1,299.
    Learn more about AFP Web Design services.
  • Graphic Design

    The staff at Augusta Free Press Publishing has been recognized by the Virginia Press Association for excellence in layout and design. Whether you need a fresh business card design, rack card, ad, flyer or full magazine design, we can help with all your graphic-design needs.
    Learn more about AFP Graphic Design services.
  • Marketing

    Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.
    Learn more about AFP Marketing services.