Press Release

Wednesday, 06 December 2017

How are artificial lungs implanted?

For people with certain serious lung conditions, a lung transplant is the only curative treatment option.  However, only a small proportion of patients can receive this treatment, as there are fewer and fewer organ donors but more and more individuals who require a donor organ. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is now supporting a priority programme called ‘Towards An Implantable Lung’ (SSP 2014) to the tune of 12.6m euros spread over six years. Scientists at Hannover Medical School (MHH) who are participating in it will be receiving 1.4m euros for their research projects over the first three years. RWTH Aachen University (RWTH) and the Universitätsklinikum Aachen university hospital are coordinating the programme, in which two other university hospitals – those at Regensburg and Tübingen – are also involved. The researchers on this priority programme aim to develop a bio-artificial lung (BA) for permanent use as an alternative treatment to lung transplantation. “Whereas considerable progress with artificial hearts has been made in recent years, the development of an (urgently needed) artificially implantable replacement for the lung – a far more complex organ than the heart – is still in its infancy,” says Professor Axel Haverich, director of MHH’s Department of Cardiothoracic, Transplantation and Vascular Surgery (HTTG) and coordinator of the Hannover-based part of the programme. His department transplants more donor lungs than any other centre worldwide.

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