U-M artificial lung showing promise, as need grows

NEW YORK, NY An artificial implantable lung that uses tiny hollow fibers and the heart's own pumping power to oxygenate blood is showing promise in pre-clinical studies, and may reach clinical trials in about a year for lung failure patients awaiting a lung transplant. Meanwhile, a new survey of lung transplant program directors shows that such a device is badly needed.

An update on the new device's progress and prospects, and results from the survey, will be presented here on June 13 by University of Michigan surgeon and life support pioneer Robert Bartlett, M.D., at the annual meeting of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs. Bartlett developed the lung with colleagues from the U-M Health System, the U-M College of Engineering, the University of Texas, Northwestern University and MC3 Corp. of Ann Arbor, MI.

At the ASAIO meeting, he will discuss recent design advances that have improved blood flow through the compact chamber, and encouraging results from week-long tests in sheep. He will present plans for the next phase of testing, supported by a new $4.8 million federal grant, which will evaluate the device's ability to totally support sheep lung function for 30 days or more. And he will present results from the survey that shows that the majority of major lung transplant centers would want to participate in an initial clinical trial once pre-clinical testing is complete.

Bartlett's presentation will be part of a larger ASAIO session on artificial lung technology that he will chair. The session will also focus on a University of Pittsburgh device, called IVOX, that is placed within a vein and supports 50 percent of lung function. The U-M lung attaches to the pulmonary artery, can be used in or outside the body, and replaces 100 percent of lung function.

"This generation of long-term, bridge-to-transplant implantable artificial lungs is on the verge of reaching the patients who need it most, and have no other options,"

Contact: Kara Gavin
University of Michigan Health System

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