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Back row: Bohdan Pomahac, MD, Ericka Bueno, PhD, Branislav Kollar, MD, Miguel Dorante; Front row: Sotirios Tasigiorgos, MD
2020 Winner: Bohdan Pomahac, MD

Director, Strategy and Innovation, Stepping Strong Center
Director, Lower Limb Extremity Transplant Program, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

Collaborators

Brian Polizzotti, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Staff Scientist, Cardiology, Boston Children’s Hospital

Miguel Dorante, MD
Research Fellow in Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Martin Kauke, MD
Research Fellow in Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Yannick Diehm, MD
Research Fellow in Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Valentin Haug, MD
Research Fellow in Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Adriana Panayi, MD
Instructor, Tissue Engineering and Wound Healing Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Alice Wang
Research Trainee, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Sina Foroutanjazi
Research Trainee, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Neil Parikh
Research Trainee, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Nikita Kadakia
Research Trainee, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Bianief Tchiloemba
Research Trainee, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Project

An Ultraportable Device for Rescuing Limbs

With his initial Stepping Strong Innovator Award grant, Bohdan Pomahac, MD, and his team built a second-generation prototype of an ultraportable perfusion device for rescuing limbs separated from their blood supply due to trauma, infection, or oncologic diseases. In a series of experiments with animal models and human limbs, this device was successful in expanding the allowed time for replantation from four to six hours to over 24 hours. Pomahac and his team are still in the process of commercialization of this device to bring this development to market for first responders, military installations, and major hospitals. Additionally, together with his collaborator Dr. Polizzotti, PhD, Pomahac and his team are developing a perfusion solution consisting of slow-release oxygen-bearing particles. In an animal model, this solution already proved to be extremely effective in simultaneously delivering oxygen to the tissue, scavenge toxic metabolites and regulate tissue fluid dynamics under near-normoxic conditions during limb perfusion. The additional Stepping Strong funding provides much-needed capital for further improving these groundbreaking innovations and bringing them to clinical practice.

Biography

Bohdan Pomahac, MD, is the medical director of the Burn Center at BWH, and the Roberta and Stephen R. Weiner Distinguished Chair in Surgery. As a pioneer in the field of face and upper extremity transplantation, Pomahac led the teams that performed the second partial face transplant and the first three full face transplant procedures in the U.S. In 2011, the team performed the first successful bilateral upper extremity transplantation in the Northeast. Under Pomahac’s leadership, the BWH VCA transplant team has performed a number of additional face and hand transplants, and expanded research protocols to include lower extremity and abdominal wall transplantation. Pomahac’s research team is currently working on implementation of immunosuppression minimization strategies in clinical trials and other research topics related to VCA transplantation and plastic surgery. Furthermore, Pomahac is a leading scientist in the field of extracorporeal perfusion of amputated extremities to drastically extend their survival time and enable replantation. Together with his collaborators he is developing an ultraportable perfusion device for salvaging limbs and improving perfusion solutions to achieve a near-normal oxygen and nutrient supply of extremities which are cut off from their blood supply.

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