Welcome to Lung Banks of America
The mission of Lung Banks of America is to help patients with end stage lung disease who desire a lung transplant by “recycling” human lungs from non-heart-beating donors (NHBDs). Lung Banks of America will increase awareness of this concept, and fund research and infrastructure to obtain, assess and establish the safety of transplanting lungs retrieved after circulatory arrest and death. Everyone suffering from severe lung disease deserves access to improved health and quality of life that lung transplantation may afford them.
Lung disease affects thousands of Americans resulting in poor quality of life and reduced life expectancy, and is the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S. Over 150,000 Americans die every year due to emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension and cystic fibrosis. Lung transplantation has enhanced quality of life and increased life expectancy for some patients with end stage lung disease. Sadly, lung transplantation is only available for a handful of patients with lung disease because of the scarcity of suitable lungs for transplant from conventional organ donors – individuals who die from a lethal brain injury, who are ventilated until lungs and other organs are recovered.
Based on research in the Egan lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we believe the pool of transplantable lungs can be increased 20-30 fold! After the heart stops beating, lung tissue is viable much longer than other organs, because of the oxygen that remains in lungs after circulatory arrest and death. Furthermore, lungs can be retrieved and kept alive outside of the body for several hours. This time window would allow for the assessment, storage, and eventual transplantation of lungs retrieved from individuals many hours after death.