Regeneration of severely damaged lungs using an interventional cross-circulation platform
The number of available donor organs limits lung transplantation, the only lifesaving therapy for the increasing population of patients with end-stage lung disease. A prevalent etiology of injury that renders lungs unacceptable for transplantation is gastric aspiration, a deleterious insult to the pulmonary epithelium. Currently, severely damaged donor lungs cannot be salvaged with existing devices or methods. Here we report the regeneration of severely damaged lungs repaired to meet transplantation criteria by utilizing an interventional cross-circulation platform in a clinically relevant swine model of gastric aspiration injury. Enabled by cross-circulation with a living swine, prolonged extracorporeal support of damaged lungs results in significant improvements in lung function, cellular regeneration, and the development of diagnostic tools for non-invasive organ evaluation and repair. We therefore propose that the use of an interventional cross-circulation platform could enable recovery of otherwise unsalvageable lungs and thus expand the donor organ pool.