“As a result of the outstanding collaboration among surgeons, engineers, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), organ procurement specialists, pilots, nurses, and, ultimately, the patient, we were able to make a pioneering breakthrough in transplantation,” project lead Joseph Scalea added.
Before delivering the kidney, the scientists tested out the device by flying other items, including saline, blood tubes and a healthy but nonviable human kidney.
Through their efforts, they believe organ delivery can be safer and more affordable.
"There remains a woeful disparity between the number of recipients on the organ transplant waiting list and the total number of transplantable organs. This new technology has the potential to help widen the donor organ pool and access to transplantation," Scalea said. "Delivering an organ from a donor to a patient is a sacred duty with many moving parts. It is critical that we find ways of doing this better."