Advanced Platform Technology Center
Microfabricated Portable Artificial Lung
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease affects approximately 16% of veterans, which makes it the fourth most prevalent disease in the VA population and very costly to the VA health care system. Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom veterans were exposed to chemicals known to cause respiratory conditions, and over 2.3 million veterans reported having some form of "lung trouble." Investigators with the APT Center are addressing the need for the first truly portable, biocompatible artificial lung capable of both long and short term respiratory support to improve the rehabilitation and daily functioning of individuals with chronic lung disease. Existing artificial lung technologies are too limited in their gas exchange efficiency, biocompatibility and size to fully realize this potential.
The artificial lung technology pioneered by APT Center Investigators has potential to drastically improve the outcome of pulmonary rehabilitation by: 1) Enhancing gas transfer performance, 2) Extending device lifetime, thus enabling long-term treatment, and 3) Increasing portability to enable ambulatory care and greater quality of life. The device also has the potential to provide lung rest for patients with pulmonary disabilities, serve as a bridge to transplant for patients with chronic lung disease and lung cancer, and eventually lead to the development of the first implantable artificial lung for semi-permanent support.
Our artificial lung technology has the highest efficiency of any device to date. We have also developed a surface modification that improves blood compatibility and will enable use of the device in acute clinical applications. Planning for initial animal experiments is underway.
Principal Investigator: Joseph Potkay, Ph.D.
Clinical Collaborators: Brian Cmolik, M.D. • Erik van Lunteren, M.D.
Funding Agency: Veterans’ Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development
Photo: A photograph of the artificial lung showing blood and air inlets and outlets and the microfluidic channels comprising the device. A penny is shown in the background for scale. The artificial lung contains blood channels that are similar in size to those in the natural lung.