Artificial Lungs in the News

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Lung Substitute Medical Device in the News

The following are from a simple internet search for “Artificial Lung.” It doesn’t matter what specific devices are used for implementation of the main hypothesis here….

“Artificial lung mimics real organ’s design and efficiency”:

Artificial lung mimics real organ’s design and efficiency.

An artificial lung built by Cleveland researchers has reached efficiencies akin to the genuine organ, using air – not pure oxygen as current man-made lungs require – for the source of the essential element.

Use in humans is still years away, but for the 200 million lung disease sufferers worldwide, the device is a major step toward creating an easily portable and implantable artificial lung, said Joe Potkay, a research assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science at Case Western Reserve University. Potkay is the lead author of the paper describing the device and research, in the journal Lab on a Chip.

The scientists built the prototype device by following the natural lung’s design and tiny dimensions. The artificial lung is filled with breathable silicone rubber versions of blood vessels that branch down to a diameter less than one-fourth the diameter of human hair.

“Based on current device performance, we estimate that a unit that could be used in humans would be about 6 inches by 6 inches by 4 inches tall, or about the volume of the human lung. In addition, the device could be driven by the heartand would not require a mechanical pump,” Potkay said.

Current artificial lung systems require heavy tanks of oxygen, limiting their portability. Due to their inefficient oxygen exchange, they can be used only on patients at rest, and not while active. And, the lifetime of the system is measured in days.

The Cleveland researchers focused first on improving efficiency and portability.

Potkay, who specializes in micro- and nano-technology, worked with Brian Cmolik, MD, an assistant clinical professor at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and researcher at the Advanced Platform Technology Center and the Cardiothoracic Surgery department at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMedical Center.

Michael Magnetta and Abigail Vinson, biomedical engineers and third-year students at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, joined the team and helped develop the prototype during the past two years.

The researchers first built a mould with miniature features and then layered on a liquid silicone rubber that solidified into artificial capillaries and alveoli, and separated the air and blood channels with a gas diffusion membrane.

By making the parts on the same scale as the natural lung, the team was able to create a very large surface-area-to-volume ratio and shrink the distances for gas diffusion compared to the current state of the art. Tests using pig blood show oxygen exchange efficiency is three to five times better, which enables them to use plain air instead of pure oxygen as the ventilating gas.

Potkay’s team is now collaborating with researchers from Case Western Reserve’s departments of biomedical engineering and chemical engineering to develop a coating to prevent clogging in the narrow artificial capillaries and on construction techniques needed to build a durable artificial lung large enough to test in rodent models of lung disease.

Within a decade, the group expects to have human-scale artificial lungs in use in clinical trials.

They envision patients would tap into the devices while allowing their own diseased lungs to heal, or maybe implant one as a bridge while awaiting a lung transplant – a wait that lasts, on average, more than a year.

Artificial Lungs Coming Soon

Artificial Lungs Coming Soon

January 30, 2008

When the lungs fail, doctors have woefully few tools in their arsenal to help people breathe.

That may change soon, say scientists who believe they are within sprinting distance of offering patients with acute lung failure an artificial lung — at least one that can be used short-term while they await transplants or for their damaged lungs to heal.

Researchers from academic institutions across the country who are developing and testing prototypes believe artificial lung clinical trials in humans, similar to studies already underway in Canada and Europe, may begin as early as this spring.

“We are doing extensive work with the Department of Defense,” says Brack Hattler, director of the Artificial Lung Program at the University of Pittsburgh. “They are very interested in support of soldiers in combat.” He expects human trials this spring for his group’s external device, the Hemolung.

Other artificial-lung researchers expect their models to be ready for human testing within one to five years. Food and Drug Administration approval for such devices could take years longer.

For suffering patients, five years may seem eons away, but in the research world it’s just around the bend, says Keith Cook, research assistant professor in the department of surgery and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan.

Cook and colleague Robert Bartlett, a pioneer in the development of artificial organs, won a $5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund animal studies that will accelerate the use of their Total Artificial Lung prototype in humans.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 150,000 Americans experience lung failure each year. A third do not survive, and those who do often suffer permanent respiratory damage. One thousand wait in line for lung transplants; 25% will die because their lungs fail them while they wait.

The purpose of an artificial lung is to help lung-failure patients survive the tenuous bridge of time between loss of respiratory function and a lung transplant, and to allow a patient whose lungs have undergone trauma, like severe smoke inhalation, to rest and heal, Cook says. “That time frame may be a few days or a few weeks.”

‘Iron lung’ memories persist

Early artificial-breathing devices include the tank respirator, or “iron lung,” introduced in the late 1920s and known for its role in treating polio victims.

Current treatment for lung failure is to hook patients up to an artificial respirator. It is costly, immobile and requires intubation, a process that can cause infection, says John Conte, a heart-and-lung transplant surgeon and associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “You don’t want to take a patient who’s been flat on his back, with poor muscles and infection at the IV site, and do a transplant. That’s a recipe for disaster.”

Artificial lungs are small and portable, however, and are designed to allow patients to remain mobile and therefore stronger for surgery.

In healthy lungs, blood vessels absorb oxygen from the blood that’s pumped in from the heart, then release carbon dioxide through exhalation. An artificial lung basically imitates the way a normal lung works.

Scott Merz, a biomedical engineer and founder of MC3, a medical device company in Ann Arbor, Mich., says his company has a prototype of an artificial lung, Biolung, that may begin human testing in another year or two. MC3′s soda-can-sized device contains a bundle of polymer fibers that help exchange oxygen in the blood for carbon dioxide as blood washes over them.

Like other artificial-lung models, the Biolung is not implanted. It’s worn outside the body, attached with tubes to large blood vessels in the chest, arms or legs. It relies on a patient’s heart to pump the blood through the device, with blood flowing naturally between the high pressure in an artery to the lower pressure in a vein.

In Canada and Europe, Novalung, an artificial lung made by a German company of the same name, is in clinical trials. Doctors say they are having success with temporary use.

Shaf Keshavjee, professor and chairman of thoracic surgery at Toronto General Hospital and the University of Toronto, has performed five artificial-lung procedures in the past year using the Novalung. The CD-sized device has helped support patients for up to two weeks while they awaited a lung transplant.

Oxygen transfer is the key

Finding a surface — a membrane like the corporeal membrane in the chest — that transfers a significant amount of oxygen while not causing blood to clot or damaging blood cells as they pass across it has been a challenge for artificial-lung developers, Keshavjee says, but they have achieved success. “The technology that has developed now works well enough to use short-term,” he says. “It is a reality.”

Novalung was approved in October, not yet for lung failure, but for temporary use during heart surgery.

Down the road, researchers such as the University of Pittsburgh’s William Federspiel hope an implantable lung will be available to support patients with chronic diseases like asthma and cystic fibrosis.

Federspiel has been exploring an enzyme that, when used to coat the fibers in the artificial lung, accelerates the removal of carbon dioxide from the blood and may reduce the amount of blood that needs to be fed through the device, making it more efficient and safer for patients.

“The devices have come of age,” Keshavjee says. “There’s a real hope you can save lives with these devices. The long-term isn’t there yet, but it’s coming.”

Artificial Lung (Biolung)

Artificial Lung: Biolung

The BioLung is an artificial lung that can replace the gas exchange function of a person’s native lungs during recovery from injury or illness, or until donor lungs are available for transplantation.

Concept → Design → Development → Pre-Production
MC3 engineers designed and patented the BioLung and designed and constructed the necessary fabrication equipment. Further development was completed through laboratory testing in conjunction with academic collaborators and with support from NIH. MC3 followed FDA-appropriate design control and documentation procedures, and transferred the BioLung to production. The BioLung is currently undergoing testing for FDA submission.

MC3 participated in the founding of Novalung, GmbH, a German company dedicated to providing devices to treat lung failure, including artificial lungs. MC3 plans to market the BioLung through Novalung.

First human patient tries artificial lung

First human patient tries ALung Technologies’ artificial lung alternative

March 22, 2010

On Feb. 3, a 76-year-old woman in India with severely labored breathing went to Artemis Health Institute, a hospital in Gurgaon, outside of New Delhi. And halfway around the world in his Pittsburgh office, William Federspiel was anxious.

The woman, suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, became the first person to use an artificial lung alternative developed by Federspiel and others at Pittsburgh’s ALung Technologies Inc.

“That was pretty exciting,” said Federspiel, co-founder of the company and chairman of the scientific advisory board. “We had the animal testing and no reason to believe that it would not work the same. Still, I was quite nervous about it. I e-mailed the engineer at ALung every day.”

South Side-based ALung Technologies is gearing up for commercialization in Europe of its Hemolung System. If all goes as planned, the product could start generating revenue as early as next year. The company is gaining clinical experience with the “first in-human use” in India before clinical trials start in Germany, said Chairman and CEO Pete DeComo.

At the same time, the company is in the midst of a financing round seeking $10 million, according to documents it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to a Feb. 17 filing, the company has secured $3.3 million of its goal. DeComo said he could not comment on the company’s fundraising activities.

Lung On A Chip
Lung On A Chip

A human breathing lung-on-a-chip was created by co-culturing human alveolar epithelial cells and pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells on opposite sides of a stretchable porous membrane to replicate the alveolar–capillary boundary of the breathing human lung. A vacuum was applied to mimic the tissue stretch that occurs during normal breathing.
lung on a chip

While not an artificial lung, another technology that is in this vein (pun intended) is Injectable Oxygen.  “A team led by researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital has designed tiny, gas-filled microparticles that can be injected directly into the bloodstream to quickly oxygenate the blood. The microparticles consist of a single layer of lipids (fatty molecules) that surround a tiny pocket of oxygen gas, and are delivered in a liquid solution. The microparticles would likely only be administered for a short time, between 15 and 30 minutes, because they are carried in fluid that would overload the blood if used for longer periods.” One thing that is not mentioned in the discussion of this method is how carbon dioxide is removed from the bloodstream.

Listen to the inventor discuss this development:





One Response to “Artificial Lungs in the News”

  1. Off-the-shelf technology for expanding human possibilities « Helping to Save The World by slingin' lead at your screen Says:

    […] My idea is to have these (or similar) units used simultaneously, for the duration of proposed Psi experiments/sessions. The PAL unit alone can supply 60% of the body’s oxygen needs. The Cerebrospinal Oxygenator fully supplies all of the brain’s nominally out-of-proportionate needs and the two others (or similar units) can more than make up the remaining percentage and then some.  See another page here on current developments in Artificial Lungs. […]

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