Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 38)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on March 7, 2007

JW Note:  Sometimes I worry about the progress of science and the useful arts.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,666,425:  Device for perfusing an animal head.

 discorporated

Abstract: 

This invention involves a device, referred to herein as a “cabinet,” which provides physical and biochemical support for an animal’s head which has been “discorporated” (i.e., severed from its body). This device can be used to supply a discorped head with oxygenated blood and nutrients, by means of tubes connected to arteries which pass through the neck. After circulating through the head, the deoxygenated blood returns to the cabinet by means of cannulae which are connected to veins that emerge from the neck. A series of processing components removes carbon dioxide and add oxygen to the blood. If desired, waste products and other metabolites may be removed from the blood, and nutrients, therapeutic or experimental drugs, anti-coagulants, and other substances may be added to the blood. The replenished blood is returned to the discorped head via cannulae attached to arteries. The cabinet provides physical support for the head, by means of a collar around the neck, pins attached to one or more vertebrae, or similar mechanical means. 

Claims:

1. A device for maintaining metabolic activity in a mammalian head which has been severed from its body at its neck, comprising the following components: a. veinous cannulae which are capable of being attached to veins which pass through the neck and receiving blood from the veins; b. arterial cannulae which are capable of being attached to arteries which pass through the neck and transporting blood into the arteries; c. an oxygenation device which is in fluid communication with the veinous and arterial cannulae, and which is capable of displacing carbon dioxide contained in the blood with oxygen; d. one or more pumps of a selected type which causes relatively low levels of damage to blood components; e. fluid conduits which are attached to each of the components listed above in a manner such that the components, when coupled to the veins and arteries of a severed head by means of the cannulae of parts (a) and (b), will form a system capable of circulating blood through the oxygenation device and through the head after the head has been severed from the body; and, f. means for securely mounting the head upon the device after the head has been severed from the body, in a position such that the veins and arteries which emerge from the head can be connected to the veinous and arterial cannulae.

2. A device of claim 1 comprising at least one device or inlet port suited for allowing the addition of a nutrient, drug, anti-coagulant, or other desired substance to the blood at a desired concentration.

3. A device of claim 1 comprising at least one monitoring port which allows the measurement of selected physical or chemical characteristics of the blood at selected locations in the device.

4. A device of claim 1 comprising one or more components which can remove one or more waste products from the blood.

5. A method of claim 4 wherein the component which can remove waste products from the blood is selected from the group consisting of hemodialysis devices, affinity chromatography devices, ion exchange devices, immobilized enzyme vessels, and immobilized cell vessels.

6. A device of claim 1, wherein the oxygenation device comprises a membrane oxygenator.

7. A device of claim 1 which comprises a component designed for removing an anti-coagulant from the blood.

8. A device of claim 1 wherein the pumps are selected from the group consisting of peristaltic pumps and multiple finger pumps

9. A device of claim 1 which is equipped with one or more heat exchangers.

10. A device of claim 1 which is equipped with monitors for measuring blood temperature, blood pressure, oxygen content, carbon dioxide content, and acidity.

11. A device of claim 1 comprising a control system containing: a. a monitor designed for evaluating one or more blood parameters, which generates a variable electronic signal which depends on the value of the parameter being measured; b. a control device which is capable of generating an output which can affect the value of the parameter being measured; and, c. an electronic circuit which allows the electronic signal from the monitor to control the output of the control device.

12. A device of claim 11 comprising a multiplicity of feedback control systems capable of simultaneously regulating a multiplicity of different blood parameters.

13. A device of claim 1 comprising a flow control system designed for regulating the rate of blood flowing into each of the arterial cannulae.

14. A device of claim 1 which is equipped with an an outlet port designed for directing blood which is passing through the device, or a fraction or portion of such blood, to the body of a second animal, and an inlet port designed for receiving blood from the body of the second animal.

15. A device of claim 1 which is equipped with a compressor suitable for compressing air, and a conduit which can be coupled to a trachea.

16. A device of claim 15 which contains means for humidifying the air.

17. A device for maintaining metabolic activity in a mammalian head which has been severed from its body at its neck, comprising the following components: a. veinous cannulae which are capable of being attached to veins which pass through the neck and receiving blood from the veins; b. arterial cannulae which are capable of being attached to arteries which pass through the neck and transporting blood into the arteries; c. an oxygenation device which is in fluid communication with the veinous and arterial cannulae, and which is capable of displacing carbon dioxide contained in the blood with oxygen; d. one or more pumps of a selected type which causes relatively low levels of damage to blood components; e. one or more components which can remove one or more waste products from the blood; f. fluid conduits which are attached to each of the components listed above in a manner such that the components, when coupled to the veins and arteries of a severed head by means of the cannulae of parts (a) and (b), will form a system capable of circulating blood through the oxygenation device and through the head after the head has been severed from the body; f. at least one monitoring port which allows the measurement of selected physical or chemical characteristics of the blood at selected locations in the device; g. at least one device or inlet port suited for allowing the addition of a nutrient, drug, anti-coagulant, or other desired substance to the blood at a desired concentration; and, h. means for securely mounting the head upon the device after the head has been severed from the body, in a position such that the veins and arteries which emerge from the head can be connected to the veinous and arterial cannulae.

18. A device of claim 17 which comprises a component designed for removing an anti-coagulant from the blood.

19. A device of claim 17 which is equipped with an an outlet port designed for directing blood which is passing through the device, or a fraction or portion of such blood, to the body of a second animal, and an inlet port designed for receiving blood from the body of the second animal.

20. A device of claim 17 comprising a feedback control system containing: a. a monitor designed for evaluating one or more blood parameters, which generates a variable electronic signal which depends on the value of the parameter being measured; b. a control device which is capable of generating an output which can affect the value of the parameter being measured; and, c. an electronic circuit which allows the electronic signal from the monitor to control the outpur of the control device.

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