Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Saturday

July 13, 2013

Retired Northport heart surgeon joins artificial pancreas search

NORTHPORT — Arne Landè, a retired cardio-vascular surgeon in Northport, says he has a break-through idea for developing a long-sought artificial pancreas for insulin-dependent diabetics.

If approved by the Federal Drug Administration, his small artificial pancreas could dramatically change treatment of diabetes and have a possible economic impact on Northport.

Landè, 81, wants research, development and manufacture of his artificial pancreas device to occur in Northport. He spent many boyhood summers in the village and moved there permanently last year.

The artificial pancreas he envisions will be part of a “sleeve” device to be worn on the forearm that is connected directly to the bloodstream. It will constantly monitor blood glucose levels and automatically inject precise amounts of insulin when needed to control and keep blood sugars balanced.

Landè said Wednesday that he is seeking a chief executive officer to help develop a business plan and a design engineer experienced in the artificial pancreas field to prototype what he calls his “blood-based artificial pancreas.”

“I’ve been thinking about this for 50 years,” Landè said. “Everyone’s assumption is that what I’m suggesting can’t be done, but I think it can because of my background.”

Landè, 81, is no stranger to medical equipment research or blood circulation.

He helped invent the Landè-Edwards membrane blood oygenator as an intern at the University of Minnesota during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The oxygenator was the first commercial artificial lung to be mass produced for heart-lung machines, which are used to circulate the blood outside the body, add oxygen and remove carbon dioxide during open-heart, bypass and other surgeries. About 30,000 were manufactured.

He also developed a prototype for an artificial kidney about the same time for end-stage kidney patients in renal failure. The continuously wearable “hemodializer” was designed to remove the patient’s blood, clean it and put it back into the body. It also incorporated a “sleeve.” Technology, however, wasn’t available then to continue with the project.

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