Sunday , April 18 2021

The University of Maryland will first use drones to provide a kidney for transplantation

BALTIMORE and PARK College – In the first advances in technology for medicine and aviation, the University of Maryland unmanned aerial vehicles delivered a kidney donor to surgeons at the Medical Center of the University of Maryland (UMMC) in Baltimore for a successful transplant in a patient with renal insufficiency. This successful demonstration illustrates the UAS's ability to deliver organs that can in many cases be faster, safer and more widely available than traditional transport methods.

The most significant flight on 19 April 2019 was the cooperation between doctors for transplantation and researchers from the Medical School at UZMOM in Baltimore; aviation and engineering experts at the University of Maryland (UMD); Medical Center at Maryland University; and collaborators at the Maryland Living Heritage Foundation (The LLF).

"This great progress in human medicine and transplantation is an example of two key components of our mission: innovation and co-operation," said Dr E. Albert Reese, Doctor of Science, MBA, executive vice president for medical affairs, UM Baltimore and John Z. Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished professor and Dean, Medical faculty in Maryland. "Innovation is at the heart of our focus on speeding up the pace and scope of discovery, where research can quickly transform medicine. At the same time, co-operation is the key to our success in providing medical-based discoveries – both in carrying out research, and in providing the highest quality of patient care. "

The kidney recipient, a 44-year-old Baltimore woman who spent eight years of dialysis before submitting a transplant procedure, said: "The whole thing is amazing. A few years ago, this was not something you would think about," she said. She was fired by UMMC on Tuesday.

"For more than 25 years, the Medical Center at the University of Maryland has provided state-of-the-art care in organ transplantation," said Mohan Sunta, MD, MBA, president and chief executive officer at the Maryland University Medical Center in Baltimore. "Our transplant program takes care of patients coming from our local community, state and nation, many of whom are returning to other hospitals because we have the skill, talent and knowledge to advance even the most complex cases of transplantation, often not it only improves, but saves lives. "

The Maryland faculty and researchers believe that this organ transport prototype follows the UAC use pathway to expand access to donated organs, improving results for more people in need of organ transplantation.

"As a result of the outstanding collaboration between surgeons, engineers, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), organ procurement specialists, pilots, nurses and finally the patient, we succeeded in making pioneering progress in transplantation," said Joseph Scalea, MD, assistant professor of surgery in UMSOM, project lead, and one of the surgeons who performed the transplantation in UMMC.

Among the many technological first of this effort are: a specially designed, high-tech apparatus for maintaining and monitoring a sustainable human organ; UAS with a built-in eight-rotor and multi-engine model to provide consistently reliable performance, even in the event of a possible component failure; the use of the UAS wireless network control network, monitoring the status of aircraft and providing communication to ground crews in multiple locations; and operating systems of aircraft that combine best practices from the UAC and transport standards of the authorities.

"We had to create a new system that was still within the FAA regulatory structure, but it could also bring the extra weight of the body, cameras and organs for monitoring, communication and security systems through urban, densely populated areas – – for longer distance and with greater endurance, "said Matthew Scasero, MPA, director of UMD's UAC test site, part of the James Clarke Engineering School. "There is tremendous pressure, knowing that there is a person waiting for that authority, but it is also a special privilege to be part of this critical mission."

Prior to this flight on an organ delivery flight, partners from Maryland worked together to develop and test UAS by first successfully transporting saline, blood tubes and other materials, and then transporting a healthy, but invisible, human kidney. These test flights preceded the 2016 year by the state of Maryland, the first aeronautical delivery of simulated medical freight, a joint effort between the UMD tests of UAS and the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health in Easton, Maryland, to illustrate how the use of UAS can radically change the medical care and affect the lives of the right people.

Promoting transplantation through the transport of UAS

Transport logistics is often the most complicated part of the process of organ transplantation – and how long an organ remains sustainable throughout the journey is a major problem. Transport methods usually involve expensive charter flights or rely on variable commercial flights, and sometimes result in an organ lying on an aircraft or other delays that destroy the sustainability of the organ. These current transport methods also do not adequately cover many parts of the county, such as rural or geographically remote areas, limiting access to these areas and donations to organs and organ transplants.

According to the United Organ donation network, which manages the organ transplant system in the United States, in 2018, there were approximately 114,000 people on waiting lists for organ transplants; about 1.5 per cent of the deceased donor organic shipments did not make it to the planned destination; and almost four percent of organic shipments had an unexpected delay of two or more hours.

"There remains a serious disparity between the number of waiting lists for organ transplants and the total number of transplanted organs.This new technology has the potential to help expand the donor body base and access the transplant," Scalea said. "The delivery of a donor body to a patient is a sacred duty with many moving parts. It is very important to find ways to improve it."

Organized organ transplant killing is a key responsibility of US public procurement organizations, including the project's collaborator, The LLF. "The USA University of Maryland Project is incredibly important," said Charlie Alexander, chief executive of The LLF, noting that the work is in the process of proving the concept. "If we can prove that this works, then we can look at much longer distances from drone transportation, which will minimize the need for more pilots and time of flying and address the security issues we have in our area."

Designing a delivery system for organic UAS

To create an UAS designed to carry an authority and to provide real-time monitoring of the situation, Scalea has collaborated with several medical technology companies to design and develop a human body monitoring device and to provide quality long distance travel ( HOMAL, patent). It measures and maintains temperature, barometric pressure, height, vibration and location (via GPS) during transport and transmits the information on the smartphones to the transplant staff.

Required drones and operating systems were designed by the UMD UAS Test Site engineers to meet the strict medical, technical and regulatory requirements for implementing a donor organ for human transplantation.

"We have built many layoffs because we want to do everything possible to protect the load," said Anthony Puciarela, director of operations at the UMD UAS Test Site. These safeguards include spare propellers and motors, double batteries, a reserve power distribution board and a parachute recovery system (in case the whole aircraft fails).

"This flight in history is not only a breakthrough from a technological point of view, it is also an example of how engineering expertise and ingenuity ultimately serve human needs – in this case, the need to improve the reliability and efficiency of the delivery of hospitals who perform transplant surgery, "said Ph.D., James Clarke, Ph.D., Ph.D., Darry J., Ph.D. Pines, and Nariman Farwaddin, a professor of aviation engineering. "As strikingly, as this breakthrough is from a purely engineering point of view, there is a bigger target in question. This is ultimately not about technology, but about improving human life."


EXHIBITION: Dr. Scalea is the founder of a private data analysis company, Transplant Logistics and Informatics. Funding for this research was provided by the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) with additional resources from the UAC test, UMSOM, UMMC, Maryland University, Baltimore, Technology Transfer Office and the city of Baltimore


1. Scalea et al. Am J transplantation. 2019 March; 19 (3): 962-964

Scalea et al. IEEE J Transl Eng Health Med. 2018 November 6; 6: 4000107

About the Medical School in Maryland

Now in the third century, the Medical School of the University of Maryland (UMSOM) was founded in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, highest-ranking biomedical research companies in the world – with 43 academic departments, centers, institutes and programs and a faculty of more than 3,000 doctors, scientists and associate healthcare professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences and prominent recipient of the Albert E. Lasker in medical research. With an operational budget of over $ 1 billion, UMSOM works closely with the Medical Center at the University of Maryland and the Medical System to provide research research, both academic and clinical, for more than 1.2 million patients each year. UMSOM faculty, ranked as eighth of the highest state medical schools in productivity research, is an innovator in translating medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 new companies. The school operates locally, nationally and globally, with facilities for research and treatment in 36 countries around the world. Visit:

About the Medical Center of the University of Maryland

The Medical Center at the University of Maryland (UMMC) is comprised of two hospitals in Baltimore: a 800-bed hospital hospital – the leading institution of the Medical System at the University of Maryland in 14 hospitals (UMMS) – and a community hospital with 200 beds, the UMMC Midtown Campus. UMMC is a national and regional referral center for trauma, cancer care, neurosciences, cardiac surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, women's and children's health and has one of the largest programs for transplantation of solid organs in the country. All doctors in the main hospital are faculty physicians from the Maryland Medical School. At the UMMC Midtown Campus, faculty doctors work together with community doctors to provide patients with the highest quality care. The UMMC Midtown Campus was founded in 1881 and is located one mile away from the University Campus Hospital. For more information, visit http: //

About the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park is the nation's leading university and one of the nation's most elusive public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of Fulbright's nation's tallest producers, his faculties include two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 57 members of national academies. The institution has an operating budget of $ 1.9 billion and provides $ 514 million a year in external funding for research. For more information on the University of Maryland, College Park, visit http: //

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