British MedTech business, OrganOx Ltd, announced today a multiyear research collaboration with two leading US organ transplant organizations, with the objective of increasing the supply of donor livers available for transplantation within the US.
Currently, approximately 15%* of donor livers recovered in the US are not transplanted, primarily due to concerns over organ quality. Evidence from the UK, using the OrganOx technology, has suggested that many of these ~1,000 declined organs may be viable for transplantation.
Mid-America Transplant and Washington University School of Medicine, both based in St. Louis, will collaborate with OrganOx to evaluate whether the company’s metra** normothermic machine perfusion (NMP) device can reduce the number of livers that are discarded due to quality issues. The machine is designed to supply donated livers with oxygenated blood, clot-busting drugs and nutrients. Currently, donated livers are stored on ice, making them prone to a type of injury that occurs when blood flows through the organ for the first time after a transplant.
Diane Brockmeier, CEO of Mid-America Transplant, said “We take pride in innovating the donation process by seeking out new, novel approaches that align with the pursuit of our vision that organs and tissues are always available to those in need. We are delighted to work with OrganOx and Washington University to assess the impact NMP can make in our commitment to save lives through organ and tissue donation.”
William Chapman MD, Chief of Transplant Surgery at Washington University, said “Today the shortage of donor organs remains the overriding factor that limits our ability to save the lives of patients with end-stage liver disease for whom a transplant is the only treatment. Our long-term vision is to expand the supply of suitable donor organs in the US and increase the number of patients who are eligible for a transplant. We look forward to evaluating the NMP technology to determine whether it will facilitate the ability to assess livers that would otherwise be discarded.”
Craig Marshall, CEO of OrganOx said, “We are delighted to announce this collaboration with Mid-America Transplant and Washington University, St Louis. Improving the utilization of donor organs is exactly what our proprietary technology has been developed for. I am confident OrganOx can play a crucial role in enabling Diane Brockmeier’s and Dr. Chapman’s shared vision of expanding the number of donor livers available for transplant to enable more recipients to benefit from lifesaving transplantation. This is great news for the growing number of US patients with end stage liver disease.”
About the OrganOx technology
The technology, normothermic machine perfusion, (NMP) has been developed by OrganOx, a company spun out of the University of Oxford, UK. It is a totally new approach to preserving a deceased donor liver prior to transplantation. Instead of storing the donor liver in ice, NMP provides the organ with oxygenated blood and nutrients at normal body temperature which allows it to function in the critical period between the donation and transplantation and enables an assessment of the organ prior to transplant.
About liver transplantation in the US
Today the US leads the world in terms of the number of liver transplants performed each year at approximately 8,000, however the demand is far greater, with more than 13,000 patients joining the transplant list annually. By contrast over 1,000 donor organs are recovered but not transplanted each year, primarily due to concerns over organ quality. In the absence of an equivalent to dialysis, more than 10 people a day die or are removed from the list whilst waiting for a liver transplant*.
Within the US the recovery of donor organs is the responsibility of the network of 58 Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs), which work with donor families and operate on a not for profit basis. Liver transplantation takes place in 145 hospitals, each one affiliated to one or more OPO.
About Mid-America Transplant
Mid-America Transplant is a leading OPO in the US headed by CEO, Diane Brockmeier. The organization saves lives by providing expert and compassionate care for donors, donor families, and recipients, and transforms the clinical processes required to recover and transplant organs and tissues. Mid-America was the first OPO to establish an independent organ recovery facility in which organs are retrieved and transferred to surrounding transplant hospitals.
About Washington University, St Louis
The Washington University liver transplant program has performed more than 2,000 liver transplants and is headed by William Chapman, MD. With a reputation for leading-edge research and exceptional clinical care, the transplant center was the 4th largest in the United States in 2017, and is a leader in both transplant numbers and clinical outcomes.
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** The OrganOx metra is not currently available in the United States. Discarded liver studies using the OrganOx metra are for Research Use Only purposes at this time.