Breakthrough technology for a critical healthcare mission: organ transplant drones prove their worth. “MissionGO, a leader in unmanned aircraft solutions that is transforming logistics; LifeSource, the organ procurement organization (OPO) for the Upper Midwest; and Mercy Hospital, part of Allina Health Systems, today announced the first-ever test flight of a human pancreas over an unmanned aerial vehicle system (UAS), conducted on May 5th, ”said a press release.
After a minute of silence under the direction of Lead Pilot Ryan Henderson in honor of the donor hero, this historic flight transported a research pancreas from Mercy Hospital at Coon Rapids, made a 10-mile loop across the Mississippi River, and then returned to Mercy Hospital. This flight successfully demonstrated the viability, value, efficiencies and speed of delivery of life saving organs via UAS within the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
Organ transport is both critical and complex and requires multiple partners to cover all aspects of the mission. During this operation, the pancreas was monitored for the duration of the flight, “with the hardware and software platform from MediGO, in order to provide all critical interest groups with the real-time location status of the organ,” says the press release. In addition, LifeSource performed a pre-flight and post-flight pancreatic biopsy “to study the effects of UAS transport on a human organ, with no changes found in the pre-flight and post-flight biopsies.” In addition to the complexity of organ transport, operators need flight telemetry: “MissionGO’s aircraft was monitored using AlarisPro’s new flight data recorder, known as AlarisAIR (Automated Independent Recorder), which delivers flight telemetry data over both cellular and Bluetooth networks.”
“LifeSource has set itself the bold goal of having 1,000 organs transplanted in one year by 2027. We made 603 transplants possible last year, ”said Susan Gunderson, Founder and CEO of LifeSource. “Organ transplantation is a race against time; This is one of many transformative solutions that will help us save more lives. “
MissionGO tested organ transplant drones in 2019 and 2020, which transport a research cornea and a research kidney. MissionGO has also made progress with the certification of their MG Velos 100 UAS: and they hope to integrate drones into the LifeSource and Allina Health programs.
“The future is here – the market demands innovative and sustainable solutions in the commercial and medical industry. MissionGO is here to prove that unmanned aircraft are a reliable means of transporting valuable cargo, ”said Frank Paskiewicz, MissionGO Executive Vice President for UAS Cargo Operations. “LifeSource and Allina Health have been incredible partners providing groundbreaking new solutions for the organ transplant industry.”
“Organ transportation by unmanned aerial vehicle is an incredible innovation for the healthcare industry,” said Robert Quickel, MD, vice president of the Clinical Service Line, surgical procedure administration for Allina Health. “These test flights are an inspiring step in overcoming obstacles and increasing the number of viable, life-saving organs that our transplant patients so desperately need.”
Scott Plank, CEO and co-founder of MissionGO and MediGO explains: “MissionGO focuses on unmanned flight operations, while MediGO is dedicated to improving organ transplant and hospital logistics through just-in-time deliveries. MediGO is an integral part of MissionGO’s medical cargo operations and is the only company to oversee all means of transport for medical supplies. MissionGO and MediGO are jointly leading the innovation of organ logistics into the future. “
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional marketplace for drone services, and a passionate observer of the emerging drone industry and regulatory environment for drones. Author of over 3,000 articles focusing on the commercial drone space, Miriam is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam graduated from the University of Chicago and has over 20 years experience in high-tech sales and marketing for emerging technologies.
For advice or writing in the drone industry, email Miriam.
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