By Chris Stonor
MissionGO, a leading unmanned aircraft company and the Living Legacy Foundation (LLF) of Maryland, announced this week a recent collaboration where a drone successfully delivered organ and blood samples, reports a press release (embargoed until 1pm UK time today).
The demonstration occurred on August 10th when a MissionGO MG Velos 100 drone revealed an approximately “292 percent improvement or three times faster over ground transportation when delivering medical samples.” The LLF is Maryland’s organ procurement organisation (OPO) responsible for organ, eye and tissue donation services.
The release states, “This marks a momentous medical achievement for both organisations by being the first to demonstrate rapid UAS blood transport for fast-track lab testing, matching and transplantation of life-saving organs. “
Charlie Alexander, president and CEO of The LLF, commented, “About 20 lives are lost every day waiting for an organ transplant. As the demand of blood shipment to laboratories increases, it is imperative more than ever that we support and facilitate these types of initiatives in order to decrease the total turnaround time for donor matching results and get recipients the organs they need in time.”
He continued, “We are passionate about saving and enhancing lives through donation, while honouring the legacy and generosity of our donors and their families. Continuing to make these medical advancements furthers our mission to save more lives, and we look forward to finding more innovative ways to help those in need.”
Currently, the LLF send blood specimens to a minimum of three different labs by ground courier across a 7.1 mile distance that takes around 38 minutes for just one shipment. The release continues, “This process is also subject to heavy traffic, unexpected accidents and many other unpredictable road-related factors.” And goes on. “Once received, The LLF, donor hospitals and partner laboratories within 150 to 250 miles must create extremely efficient, logistical solutions to rapidly and rigorously test the specimen to ensure there are no communicable diseases present, identify a match and provide transport to the transplant hospital for the surgical procedure.”
At one of MissionGO’s Maryland test sites, the drone flew a circuit route over a 5.3 mile distance representing the direct line flight path for the blood delivery. Traveling at approximately 50 miles per hour over a 60-minute period, the drone completed four blood delivery shipments proving that a better method is possible.
Frank Paskiewicz, Executive Vice President of UAS Cargo Operations at MissionGO, said, “When it comes to donation, specimen testing and transplantation, every second counts, and we found there was a lot of room for improvements within the current process.”
He continued, “For donation to be possible, labs must receive blood as quickly as possible so it can be matched with a waiting recipient, and we’re thrilled that the results of this flight and fully integrated UAS cargo delivery solution will help accelerate the donation process, and potentially, save more lives than ever before.”
Transplant surgeon Joseph Scalea, Chief Medical Officer and co-Founder of MediGO, a partner in the trial, remarked, “We’re grateful to have the opportunity to partner with The LLF, a forward-leaning, technology-focused OPO that is leading the transplant community into the future. Adding. “Now, all stakeholders can have eyes on the shipment through its entire journey to final delivery. The confidence and efficiency this brings to medical teams is a game-changer for the industry and with our partners at MissionGO, the future of transplant logistics is here.”
There are currently around 3,000 Marylanders and more than 100,000 people nationwide waiting for a life-saving transplant. One donor can save up to eight people through organ donation and enhance more than 75 lives through tissue donation.
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