Game changing technology for a critical mission in healthcare: drones for organ transplants are proving their worth. “MissionGO, a leader in unmanned aircraft solutions that is transforming logistics; LifeSource, the organ procurement organization (OPO) serving the upper Midwest; and Mercy Hospital, part of the Allina Health system, today announced the first-ever test flight carrying a human pancreas via an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) conducted on May 5,” says a press release.
Following a moment of silence led by Lead Pilot Ryan Henderson to honor the donor hero, this historic flight transported a research pancreas from Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, flew a 10-mile circuit over the Mississippi River, then returned to Mercy Hospital. This flight successfully demonstrated the viability, value, efficiency gains and delivery speed of lifesaving organs via UAS within the Twin Cities metro area.
Organ transportation is both critical and complex, requiring multiple partners to cover all aspects of the mission. For this operation, the pancreas was monitored for the duration of the flight “using MediGO’s hardware and software platform to provide the real-time location status of the organ to all critical stakeholders,” says the press release. In addition, LifeSource performed a biopsy on the pancreas before and after the flight “to study the impact of UAS transportation on a human organ, revealing no changes in pre and post flight biopsies.” Beyond the complexities involved in transporting organs, operators require flight telemetry: “MissionGO’s aircraft was monitored with AlarisPro’s new flight data recorder known as the AlarisAIR (Automated Independent Recorder) which provides flight telemetry data through both cellular and Bluetooth networks.”
“LifeSource has set an audacious goal of transplanting 1,000 organs in one year by 2027; last year, we facilitated 603 transplants,” said Susan Gunderson, LifeSource Founder & CEO. “Organ transplant is a race against time; this is one of many transformative solutions to help us save more lives.”
MissionGO tested drones for organ transplants in 2019 and 2020, transporting a research corneas and a research kidney. MissionGO has also made progress in certifying their MG Velos 100 UAS: and they hope to integrate drones into the LifeSource and Allina Health programs.
“The future is here – there’s a demand in the market for innovative and sustainable solutions in the commercial and medical industry. MissionGO is here to prove that unmanned aircraft are a reliable mode of transportation for precious cargo,” said Frank Paskiewicz, MissionGO Executive Vice President for UAS Cargo Operations. “LifeSource and Allina Health have been incredible partners that are pioneering new solutions for the organ transplant industry.”
“Organ transport by an unmanned aircraft is an incredible innovation for health care,” said Robert Quickel, MD, vice president clinical service line, surgical procedural 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 is focused on unmanned aircraft operations, while MediGO is dedicated to improving organ transplant and hospital logistics through just-in-time delivery. MediGO is an important part of MissionGO’s medical cargo operations and is the only company monitoring all modes of transportation for medical deliveries. Together, MissionGO and MediGO are taking organ logistics innovation into the future.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.