Customer Spotlight: Ex Vivo. Out of the Living.

1. Organ Donation. Ex Vivo. Rehabilitation. Artificial Environment. Perfusion. Novel Lung Trial. Transplantation. Lives Saved.

2. Safety Measure. Anodized Aluminum. Autoclave. Barcoded Tags. Sutured to Tissue. Right Lung. Left Lung. Suitable. Lungs Saved.

3. Donor Organs. 83% Discarded. Unsuitable. Marginal Lungs. Chronic Lung Disease.

Even if you are not a lab tech savvy to clinical terms, which of these three groups is the least attractive to you? One doesn’t seem ideal – does it? We didn’t think so either. The third group is not a group of words we want to associate with – especially when dealing with topics as important as organ transplantation!

The skills and capacity we have from science these days are incredible and constantly evolving. EIM has many opportunities to assist customers in the medical field that are doing some really groundbreaking work. One, for instance, is an east coast university hospital working with Columbia on the NOVEL Lung Trial. They will begin transplanting patients with donor lungs that have gone through the groundbreaking rehabilitation process known as “ex vivo lung perfusion.”

Lung XrayHow unfortunate it is that roughly 83% of donor lungs end up being discarded because they are not suitable for transplantation. The good news is that ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) can save many of those marginal lungs that would ultimately be unusable!

So what is EVLP? Ex vivo is Latin for “out of the living” and it means “that which takes place outside an organism”. In science, it refers to experimentation done in or on tissue in an artificial environment outside the organism with minimum alteration conditions under a more controlled setting. Perfusion is the process of delivering blood to a capillary bed in biological tissue –such as the lung. So, EVLP is a technique done outside of the body capable of continuously pumping a bloodless solution containing oxygen, proteins and nutrients into injured donor lungs. This process allows surgeons the opportunity to assess and treat injured donor lungs while they are outside the body, to make them suitable for transplant. This greatly reduces the number of donor lungs that are discarded… which is great!

One possible “hiccup” could be the mix-up of all these donor lungs or “right and left” lung differentiation when multiple ex vivo perfusions are taking place. To reduce this risk and keep identification simple, trustworthy and backed-up, the use of barcode labeling comes in handy―and this is, of course, is where EIM comes in. Our Met-L-Mark® anodized aluminum tags can be printed with a combination of letters, numbers and barcodes, as well as colors. For EVLP, these metal tags will be autoclaved prior to use as a standard medical protocol and then will be sutured to tissue. The tagged lungs will go through rehabilitation on EVLP and then will be ready for use by a lucky recipient! (Of course, just before a transplant is done, the tags will be removed.)

The gift of breath and a new chance at a life lived without strain, worry or uncertainty will be made possible through this incredible new medical advance―and we are proud to be able to offer a tag solution that effectively meets the demands of this unusual application.

Electronic Imaging Materials