ScienceDaily (July 26, 2011) — An artificial lung built by Cleveland researchers has reached efficiencies akin to the genuine organ, using air — not pure oxygen as current human-made lungs require — for the source of the essential element.
Use in humans is still years away, but for the 200 million lung disease sufferers worldwide, the device is a major step toward creating an easily portable and implantable artificial lung, said Joe Potkay, a research assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science at Case Western Reserve University. Potkay is the lead author of the paper describing the device and research, in the journal Lab on a Chip.
The scientists built the prototype device by following the natural lung’s design and tiny dimensions. The artificial lung is filled with breathable silicone rubber versions of blood vessels that branch down to a diameter less than one-fourth the diameter of human hair.
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