Mayo Clinic and United Therapeutics Corp. announced on June 15th that they are partnering together to build and operate a lung restoration center on the Mayo campus in Jacksonville, Florida.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 1,600 people are currently waiting for a lung transplant and many more could benefit from one if more donor lungs were available.  Construction of the center is supposed to be complete in 2017.

Mayo Collaborates on Lung Center

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic and United Therapeutics Corp. plan to build and operate a lung restoration center on the Mayo campus in Jacksonville, they announced on Monday.

The two organizations also may collaborate to develop similar lung restoration centers at Mayo Clinic’s campuses in Arizona and in Rochester, according to a Mayo Clinic news release.

The center aims to significantly increase the volume of lungs for transplantation by preserving and restoring marginal donor lungs, making them viable for transplantation, the release says. The restored lungs will be made available to patients at Mayo Clinic and other transplant centers throughout the United States.

Construction of the center is expected to be completed in late 2017. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

“This collaboration is exciting because it allows Mayo Clinic to bring the latest advances in life-saving technology to transplant patients,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., chief executive officer of Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida. “Ultimately, this relationship will help Mayo Clinic expand its reach to patients who could benefit from this innovation. Increasing the number of lungs available for transplantation provides more options for patients suffering from pulmonary disease.”

As part of the agreement, Mayo Clinic will lease land on its campus to a subsidiary of United Therapeutics to construct, equip and operate the center, the release says. Mayo Clinic will provide physician oversight as well as procure and deliver lungs to the center for restoration in coordination with organ procurement organizations.

In addition, the organizations plan to work together on regenerative medicine research, which has the potential to heal damaged tissues and organs.

Ex vivo lung perfusion technology is the process by which marginal donor lungs are treated with specialized solutions and gases that can reverse lung injury and remove excess fluids in the lung, making them clinically viable for transplant.

“We are honored to work with Mayo Clinic to expand the supply of transplantable lungs,” said Martine Rothblatt, chairman & co-chief executive officer of United Therapeutics. “Mayo Clinic was uniquely able to save my father’s mobility after a car accident fifty years ago, and I have held them in awe ever since.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 1,600 people are waiting for a lung transplant and many more could benefit from a transplant if more donor lungs were available.

United Therapeutics was founded in 1996 as a biotechnology company focused on developing products for pulmonary arterial hypertension. One of its key projects is to develop solutions to the shortage of transplantable organs, including through ex-vivo lung perfusion technology, the process by which marginal donor lungs are treated with specialized solutions and gases that can reverse lung injury and remove excess fluids in the lung, and making them clinically viable for transplant.

Mayo Clinic has one of the nation’s largest transplant practices, with campuses in Rochester, Arizona and Florida. More than 200 physicians in transplant medicine and surgery at the three campuses perform about 1,800 transplants a year