Lung transplants remain the final treatment for many conditions. However, appropriate and available lungs are far fewer than the number of people who need them, leaving many patients to further deterioriate or die while waiting for a transplant. Moreover, there are many patients with insufficient lung function, including those suffering from lung cancer, who are not eligible for a lung transplant. Direct gas exchange between air and blood would provide respiratory support independent of injured lungs and allow the lungs to heal and recover. A device that can oxygenate using room air, rather than compressed air, and has a sufficiently small blood side pressure drop would greatly simplify and improve extracorporeal oxygenation. With the added requirements of long-term safety and efficacy, such a device would realize the final goal of a fully implantable artificial lung. Infoscitex has assembled a team of experts to further develop the technology for a family of vascular gas exchange devices. These devices use available room air and will likely reduce the need for anticoagulation methods compared to other devices currently available or in development. The research program detailed in this proposal will provide the necessary foundation to complete development of the technology for the implantable artificial lung, including initial animal trials. The proposed effort will result in the data necessary to secure the funding and approval for the next stage of device development and eventual market introduction.
The development of an implantable artificial lung based on direct vascular gas exchange performed directly from room air and requiring low levels of anticoagulation is proposed. Our device utilizes a novel two-stage gas exchange system that oxygenates blood via a liquid-liquid interface. This interface, by eliminating the contact of blood to a membrane, reduces fouling of the gas exchange surface which is the limiting factor in other devices under development.