Damaged Human Lungs Can Be Repaired by Attaching Them to Pigs, Experiment Shows
Updated: Aug 22, 2020
The sad reality of terminal lung illnesses is that there are simply far more patients than there are donor lungs available. This isn't just because of the low number of donors, which would be problem enough, but many donor lungs are significantly damaged, rendering them unusable.
By using a new experimental technique, though, such a damaged lung has now been restored to function - by sharing its circulatory system with that of a living pig. This leverages the body's self-repair mechanisms to exceed the capabilities of current donor lung restoration techniques.
"It is the provision of intrinsic biological repair mechanisms over long-enough periods of time that enabled us to recover severely damaged lungs that cannot otherwise be saved," say the lead researchers, surgeon Ahmed Hozain and biomedical engineer John O'Neill of Columbia University.
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