University Health Network (UHN) and its partner SQI Diagnostics have tested new technology to help surgeons evaluate lung health at the time of transplant.

The TORdx LUNG research-use assay has been jointly developed by the Toronto Lung Transplant Program at UHN and SQI Diagnostics.

Transplant surgeons can use the assay to get an indication of lung health by measuring certain biomarkers of the donor organ at the time of transplantation.

SQI Diagnostics noted that the new technology reduces the time to assess lung health from over three hours to less than 50 minutes.

Toronto Lung Transplant Program director Dr Shaf Keshavjee said: “Integrating rapid diagnostics gives transplant teams the means to more accurately assess the health of donor lungs.

“Time-to-result is key because it can provide critical information on donor lung health to a surgeon before transplant begins, and I must say, we are very encouraged by the results so far.”

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The biomarker results will be used to generate a score based on an algorithm called the Toronto Lung Score, developed by UHN.

Based on this, the surgeon will be able to determine if the lung is suitable for transplant. This is expected to reduce negative outcomes, organ rejection and extended stays in the ICU.

UHN and SQI Diagnostics performed the tests on the latter’s sqidlite automated instrument and samples were collected from procedures being performed to be used for research purposes only.

This February, SQI Diagnostics announced two research and development agreements with UHN to license rapid multiplexed protein assays and a point-of-care diagnostic device for transplant surgeons to help them evaluate the suitability of lungs and other organs for transplantation.

In March 2017, SQI Diagnostics signed an agreement with an undisclosed company in the US to enhance predictive diagnostics for cardiac events.