XENiOS, a German company specializing in medical devices for minimally invasive lung-and-heart assist, recently announced that it has invested $2.6 million in XOR-Labs Toronto, a spin-off with the potential to markedly improve the supply of transplantable lungs.
Currently, less than 1 percent (6,000 procedures per year) of lung patients benefit from lung transplantation, and an estimated 20 percent of the patients registered on waiting lists die before donors are found. The problem is less a lack of replacement lungs than the suitability of donated lungs.
XOR-Labs Toronto, working with the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto, developed a process — based on Toronto Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion, or Toronto EVLP — to access and repair low-quality and unusable donor lungs, making them suitable for transplantation.
“The technology behind XOR’s system has a long track record of clinical success. Over the past six years it has been used more than 200 times at UHN, approved by Health Canada, and clinical results using the technology have been extensively published, including in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine,” Shaf Keshavjee, MD, one the founders of XOR and a lung researcher and transplant surgeon at UHN, in a press release. “XOR’s system will be a game-changer, since it will enable clinicians all around the world to use advanced techniques developed and perfected in Toronto, including gene and stem cell therapy, to make more lungs available for transplant and to make the transplanted lungs even better than the ones available today. All of this will improve patient care and reduce transplant waiting lists.”
XOR-Labs is a spin-off of Toronto General Hospital at UHN, a leading center for lung transplantation.
“The XOR team has most certainly transformed the lung-transplant world. By developing a platform to allow personalized medicine for the organs themselves, they will also affect the treatment of numerous diseases of lungs and other organs. Given XENiOS’s focus on cutting-edge lung-and-heart-assist therapies and immediate commercial reach, partnering with XOR is a very positive addition to our product family,” said Georg Matheis, MD, managing director and founder of XENiOS.
Partial or total lung transplantation may be needed to treat patients with diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis (PF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis (CF), and various types of lung cancer, where conventional therapeutic approaches like medications have failed.