20 Jul 2014

$1.5M grant for project to make more heart transplants possible

L-R: Dr Rouchong Ou, Dr John
Woodard & Prof Frank Rosenfeldt.
Absent: Mr Jonathan Neville
Professor Frank Rosenfeldt is one of four researchers working on a new project to enable the production of a device to perfuse transplant donor hearts. The project based at the Alfred and Monash University has received a $1.5M government grant to develop a device which will reduce the damage produced by ice storage and enable hearts to be resuscitated and used as human transplants.

Once produced, this device will make it safer to transport donor hearts over long distances in Australia and even from New Zealand.  It will also facilitate the utilisation of hearts from deceased donors.  Deceased donors also called donation after circulatory death donors (DCD) are those in whom the patient has had treatment withdrawal in the intensive care unit, is rushed to the operating theatre and organs are used for transplantation.  This process has been successful for lungs, kidneys and to a lesser extent livers but has never been possible for hearts in the current era.  The reason is that the heart is already damaged by the dying process is further damaged by conventional method of storing hearts in ice. 

The team working on the commercialisation project comprises Professor Franklin Rosenfeldt, Dr John Woodard, Mr Jonathan Nevile and Dr Rouchong Ou all of whom are members of the Monash Department of Surgery.  This project is typical  of the progress of links between engineering and medicine being promoted through Monash and particularly the Monash Medical Engineering Institute headed by Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld. The grant is being administered through Alfred Health.