Grove [Sweden]September 2 (ANI): Donated lungs in large quantities cannot be transplanted. Researchers at Skåne University Hospital and Lund University in Sweden conducted an animal study that raises the possibility of using more donor lungs in the future. To determine whether the treatment will have the same beneficial effect on humans, the researchers have started a pilot trial.
In Sweden, approximately 190 organs are donated annually. Only about 30% of lungs can be used for transplantation due to lung damage. In addition, a significant proportion of patients die within five years of transplantation, increasing the mortality rate.
According to Sandra Lindstedt, chief physician in thoracic surgery at Skåne University Hospital and adjunct professor at Lund University, “the results from our study show that a certain treatment can help us use a larger part of a donor’s lung and that there is an improved result during the first two days after surgery.” The researchers examined the results of lowering cytokine concentrations in the lungs of pigs in their study. Small proteins called cytokines are made by special immune system cells.
Before the transplant, the capacity of the lungs was reduced, resulting in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). As a result, the lungs suffered damage similar to that of human donor lungs. Ten of the cases involved treatment of the donor lung, either before and after the transplant or shortly after. The control group consisted of six cases and received no therapy.
The findings show that the lower levels of cytokines were responsible for lung function returning to a higher level than before. Sandra Lindstedt also notes, “We could see that the lungs worked better after the transplant and these complications within the first 48 hours after the transplant were reduced.
At Scania University Hospital in Lund and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, approximately 50 to 60 lung transplants are performed annually. The new treatment is expected to result in an increase in the number.
This won’t work on all donor lungs, but if we can use it on some of the donor lungs that are currently being discarded, it could have a significant impact on the lives of those waiting for transplants. We want to provide the basis for more patients’ survival, explains Sandra Lindstedt.
A specialized facility was established within Skåne University Hospital’s department for cardiovascular surgery, anesthesia and intensive care to conduct the study. All study-related competencies were collected in the unit.
Without the significant contributions of many clinical specialties, including thoracic surgeons, anesthesiologists, perfusionists, OR nurses, and nurse anesthetists, this study would not have been possible.
The results of the study, published in Nature Communications, served as the basis for a recent pilot clinical trial.
At Skåne University Hospital in Lund, we have started enrolling the first patients in the pilot trial. The total number of transplants in the trial is 20, half of which will receive treatment to lower cytokine levels while the other half will receive standard care. The trial will be expanded to include 120 transplants throughout the country if we see promising results, said Sandra Lindstedt. The results of the study, published in Nature Communications, served as the basis for a recent pilot clinical trial. (ANI)