Damaged Lungs Can Be Repaired in Four Hours
How Can We Save Our Lungs?
Lungs Under Attack
Industrialized nations are replete with byproducts that can badly affect the lungs of humans and animals. The United States is no exception—though China may be today's worst offender, and London's pea soup atmosphere was the worst culprit in the early 1900s.
Lungs are damaged by a number of environmental attackers that include:
- Smoke inhalation and heat damage from fire
- Water and debris in drowning
- Mining dust, plaster and concrete dust
- Various chemicals
- Residues from the oil and gas industry
- Silica-related materials
- Medical conditions like Cystic Fibrosis
Many of the public point to smoking as the worst offender in lung disease; but, for example, the risk of lung cancer is 8,000% greater for persons exposed to automotive exhaust fumes combined with cigarette smoke than for people exposed to smoking alone (CDC findings, 1994).
A big problem today is that lungs of transplant donors are severely damaged more often than not.
Transplantation Problem: Over 80% of donor lungs are unusable without rejuvenation treatment.
Methods of Making New Lungs
We have heard much in the last decade about transplants, and creating artificial and real replacement organs for the human body.
The most publicized methods of replacing lungs are these:
- Transplanting healthy donor organs, but many donor lungs are rejected as too damaged.
- Growing new organ tissues via surgery, using extracellular matrix pig powder.
- Growing new tissues in the lab from stem cells in petri dishes.
- 3D printing new organs.
New Treatment for Damaged Lungs
We do not yet have a way of fixing damaged lungs within our living bodies, but The Ohio State University repairs damaged donor lungs in a three-foot-diameter bubble with a simple three-ingredient treatment recipe.
The new process takes only three to four hours and results in a pair of lungs that look and act new. They function as if they had never been damaged.
The Magic Three-Ingredient Recipe: Steen Solution
A medical research study completed in 2014 (Carnevale, Roberto; et.al.) showed that a what we call "Steen solution" contains antioxidant properties. Bathing damaged lungs in this solution rejuvenates them to their original health.
The major ingredients are a derivative of human blood, oxygen, and Dextran 40. Most recently, after this study was completed, the Ohio State University added antibiotics to the solution as a preventative measure.
The official name for this treatment is the "Xvivo Perfusion System with Steen solution", which was FDA approved on May 13, 2013.
The next chapter of related research is likely a look into how to clean the damaged lungs of living patients.
Lung Perfusion and Rejuvenation
"Perfusion" is the process in which capillaries in body tissue are flooded with blood and it has been used in research and treatment several times. Other types of perfusion exist. In an example from nature, cerebrospinal fluid perfuses the brain, flooding its tissues.
to save damaged donor lungs, the ex-vivo (outside the body) process is used with only a derivative of human blood and not whole blood.
Perfusion of donated lungs with Steen solution and antibiotics has begun at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in 2016.
The total procedure is rather simple:
- Damaged donor lungs are set into a sterile plastic bubble or dome about three feet in diameter.
- The dome is attached to a ventilator, a pump, and some filters.
- The pump inflates the lungs and then floods them with the helpful Steen solution.
- The tissues and their passages becomes clean and dry in about three to four hours at most.
Applications for Other Organs
The Steen solution perfusion process is also used for the human liver and for delivering chemotherapy to lung cancer patients. The solution will be used on other organs in the future.
Lung Cleaning Since 2000
The best treatment solution is non-toxic and non-flammable.
Simply put, it is a combination of 1) a physiological salt containing human serum albumin derived from blood, a harmless food additive called Dextran 40, antibiotics, all used in conjunction with oxygen. The only related hazard of any kind is that if we spill it on the floor, it is slippery.
OSU's first such rejuvenation and transplant occurred in December 2015, for a gentleman in his late 50s who had previously already had a heart transplant. The lung transplant was quite a success as well.
The second rejuvenation and transplant combination treatment was completed at the OSU Ross Heart Hospital on September 4, 2016 and was a success.
Previously, a successful case was completed at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri with surgeons coming from nearby Washington University in November 2015 with a system branded as Xvivo.
The origins of the treatment solution extend back to 1998 at the Xvivo company and before that, the concept is traced to some original research in 1935 that was shelved.
The first successful lung transplant using this procedure occurred in Lund, Sweden in 2000 and the first in the USA occurred in 2011.
During 2017, at least 16 hospitals effectively used the Xvivo Perfusion System in clinical trials to save donor lungs.
What Is Your Choice?
Which treatment would you prefer?
American Lung Transplant Registries
Computerized Data System
"A national computer system and strict standards are in place to ensure ethical and fair distribution of organs. Organs are matched by blood and tissue typing, organ size, medical urgency, waiting time and geographic location."
— United Network for Organ Sharing; 700 N. 4th Street, Richmond VA
Doctors hope to save more lives from lung disease deaths very soon.
COPD killed Leonard Nimoy 30 years after he stopped smoking. While he died in February 2015, the Steen solution treatment option was just coming under clinical trials, perhaps too late to help the beloved actor and artist. However, it is unkown whether he was on a lung transplant waiting list or considered that option.
The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients for all organs is found online at www.srtr.org/
American Lung Transplant Success
Based on the first six months of 2015, the latest period for which data is available, the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients lists 76 hospitals that are equipped and certified to do successful lung transplants.
Those facilities with the best survival rates post-transplants include one site, but 74 of the facilities have a rate termed "As Expected." The best rate is found at:
- University of California San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco, California
This hospital is the only facility that has a "Better Than Expected" survival rating one year post-transplant.
- Reference: USFC Newsletter: UCSF Adult Lung Transplant Program Ranked Highest for Patient Survival. May 8, 2014.
The hospital (UCSF) is unusual for its willingness to accept patients who have been turned away by other medical centers, as well as for its public mission to research new approaches to treatment and share the results with other institutions.— Jasleen Kukreja, MD
The Opportunities For Lung Transplants In the United States
Number of Hospitals Doing Lung Transplantation
Most Lung Transplants in States With Most Facilities, January 2013 - June 2015
The following medical centers performed over 100 successful lung transplants during the target period:
- The Cleveland Clinic Foundation: 242
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: 214
- The Methodist Hospital, Houston: 203
- University of California at Los Angeles Med Center: 189
- UT Southwestern Medical Center/William P. Clements Jr. University, Dallas: 159
- Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia : 117
- Hospital at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: 114
- University of California San Francisco Med Center: 106
Other Important Facilities do Large Numbers of Transplants
North Carolina may have only two lung transplant facilities, but one of them performed 269 of the procedures during the reporting period and is located in the important, innovative Research Triangle.
By contrast, The Ohio State University had performed only 40 lung transplants during the reporting period, the Steen solution used only once and only in the last six months.
If you need lung treatment, consult with your trusted healthcare provider to receive the best information and referrals.
Mayo Clinic Lung Restoration Center In Jacksonville
Professionals are developing new lung treatment departments in hospitals across the United States. One such department is the Lung Restoration Center in Jacksonville. the ground breaking for the facility began during August 2016.
Look for additional centers for lung treatment to open in your area.
Good News For Sick Lungs
Much hope exists for curing and preventing the diseases of the human lung and other organs, because:
- Several methods for replacing damaged lungs exist and new techniques are being invented.
- Some methods of treating sick lungs can also be used to treat other unhealthy organs.
- Increasing numbers of hospitals in America are developing lung treatment and transplant programs.
- Carnevale, Roberto; et.al. "New Insights into the Steen Solution Properties: Breakthrough in Antioxidant Effects via NOX2 Downregulation"; Oxidative Medicine and Cell Longevity. 2014: 242180.
- Gever, John. "Technique to Repair Damaged Donor Lungs for Graft Passes Clinical Test." MedPage Today. Toronto. December 19, 2008. www.medpagetoday.com/surgery/transplantation/12245 Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- Maxwell, Kate. "Drug can make damaged lungs regrow." Daily Mail UK. April 25, 2006. www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-384152/Drug-make-damaged-lungs-regrow.html Retrieved June 15, 2016.
Steen, S.; et.al. "First Human Transplantation of a Nonacceptable Donor Lung After Reconditioning Ex Vivo." The Annals of Thoracic Surgery. Volume 83, Issue 6, June 2007, Pages 2191-2194
Questions & Answers
What is the age limit for receiving a lung Transplant?
Until recently, age 65 was accepted as the natural age limit. Currently, the Mayo Clinic website includes a statement that says for anyone above the age of 65, each case will be considered individually. This gives hope to older people.
A recent National Institutes of Health article via NCBI sites a recent study that followed eligible recipients below age 65, and above age 65. Generally, those recipients ages 75 to 79 showed that lowest success and survival rates (Annals of Thoracic Surgery. 2015 Aug;100(2):443-51).
One should ask their doctor about eligibility and survival chances to be certain, but older eligible people may have better chances in the future as medicine advances. My hope is that we can learn to clean and restore lung health in the future without transplantation.
© 2016 Patty Inglish MS