on Wymore was a police of icer in Sacramento, Calif., for 34 years

before retiring with his wife, Lisa, to Lake Havasu, Ariz. He was diagnosed with COPD and pulmonary fibrosis, and told he needed a lung transplant. Doctors said he had end stage lung disease and because of his age — he’s now 76 — was far down on the waiting list. “I thought I was done for,” Wymore says. Then he got a call from doctors at the highly regarded Norton Thoracic Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, who said he could get a lung transplant if he would take part in a clinical trial of a new procedure called a “lung in a box.” “I said, sure, because the

alternative was to have a funeral,” Wymore tells Newsmax. “We’d never heard of a lung in a box before. It sounded almost comical.” Michael Smith, the lung transplant

surgical director at St. Joseph’s, says the device keeps the lung warm, breathing, and nourished while being transported from the donor to the recipient, sometimes across the country. Preserving the lung in an ice- filled cooler only works for just four to six hours.

The lung was often unusable by the time it got to the patient. “We found the procedure

to be quite safe, and it does a better job of preserving the lungs than the cooler,” Smith says, adding that his hospital was one of just eight across the country chosen to take part in the initial trials. Now, more than four

years later, Wymore says he is doing great. “I feel wonderful,” he reports.

56 NEWSMAX | MAY 2018

lab to help solve this shortage.” Re- searchers at Mas- sachusetts General Hospital in Boston created a human heart, partially re- seeded with human stem cells, and placed it in a bioreac- tor that kept it functioning — even beating with the help of an electric shock. The hope is that further research

will lead to the creation of a fully functioning human heart. Thoracic surgeon Harald Ott, who

led the team that made the discovery, says they created the bioengineered heart with unusable donor hearts that were washed and stripped of cells that might trigger a rejection or immune response. That left behind a scaff old that

could eventually be seeded with cells from the patient in need. “The theory is that you take out

the old and put in the new. Nobody fi xes a broken radiator in a car any- more; you buy a new radiator. The medical world is heading in that di- rection,” Ott tells Newsmax. “We hope that someday you can

walk in to a clinic, we take a biopsy from you, and we can build the or- gan you need: Organ on demand . . . It’s defi nitely a long way away [at least a decade], but it’s pos- sible,” he says. Dr. Milan Kinkhabwala,

chief of transplantation at Montefi ore Medical Center in New York, thinks stem cells may play a big part in growing organs that could be implanted. He says that while the


use of stem cells has been successful in lab animals, it’s still in its infancy in

fi nding ways to grow human organs, but, “it looks extremely prom- ising.” He said researchers


have much more work to do before being able to grow organs that

could be implanted without being re- jected and to further create immunosup- pressant drugs that fi ght off rejection without serious side eff ects. “It’s very complicated and probably

won’t happen for a long time . . . maybe 10 or 20 years,” he says. The most immediate hope, some of

the experts who spoke to Newsmax say, is xenotransplantation, which involves transplanting, implanting, or infusing a patient with live cells, tissues, or organs from an animal. “Xenotransplants would create an unlimited source of organs,” Montgom- ery says. Early attempts using chimpanzees

and baboons were unsuccessful due to rejections, but researchers are focusing on using pigs as organ donors because organs from piglets are similar in size to humans. At the same time, they are working

on increasing tolerance in patients by putting pig bone marrow cells into hu- mans to reduce the chance of rejection. “You’re trying to trick the immune

system,” Montgomery says. Though research is progressing rap-

idly, experts say the fi rst clinical trials could be two years away, and the Food and Drug Administration would likely want to see at least fi ve years of data be- fore approving it. “If xeno works, that will dramatically

narrow the gap between supply and de- mand,” says Klassen from UNOS. “It may not totally eliminate the need for [traditional] human transplants, but it will go a long way toward saving many more lives.”


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