Donor lungs retrieved from Hawaii initially were not accepted for transplantation due to limitations of cold static storage, according to the Andover, Mass.-based company. The OCS system was designed to keep donated hearts, lungs and livers in near-living condition until transplantation.
The first pair of lungs was transplanted in North Carolina more than 20 hours after retrieval from a donor in Hawaii. The second transplant was performed in Arizona after over nine hours from donor to recipient. Both transplant recipients have been discharged from the hospital, the company said.
“This technology could fundamentally change the paradigm of organ retrieval, improve transplant outcomes, and dramatically increase the number of organ transplants in the United States,” said Dr. David Klassen, chief medical officer of United Network for Organ Sharing, the non-profit organization that manages the U.S. organ transplant system under contract with the federal government. “The successful transplantation of donor lungs that traveled over 4,700 miles and were maintained functioning for approximately 20 hours outside of a human body is a remarkable achievement and ushers in a new era in thoracic organ transplantation.”
Historical time and distance limitations of cold static storage on donor organs would have left these donor lungs unused for transplantation, added Leonard Licina, president & CEO of Legacy of Life Hawaii organ procurement organization. The OCS system eliminated those limitations, he said.
“These two cases mark an important milestone in transforming thoracic transplantation to benefit more patients in need of a lung transplant,” said TransMedics president & CEO Dr. Waleed Hassanein in a news release. “It is a new dawn in organ transplantation, and we are committed to being on the forefront of this transformation with our leading OCS clinical users and collaborators.”
TransMedics won premarket approval for its OCS Lung system in 2018. The company went public in May 2019.