From a life in medical science

Stig Steen, MD, PhD (born 1948 in Tynset, Norway) is a surgeon, clinical professor and inventor within the field of heart and lung surgery. His pioneering methods and innovations have been introduced in hospitals and emergency services worldwide.


Professorial inauguration

Stig Steen is appointed Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Lund University. His research program includes ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP), mechanical CPR, non-ischemic heart preservation (NIHP), xenotransplantation and “power rehabilitation”, i.e. a lifestyle program designed to improve the physical and mental health of patients on the transplantation waiting list.

Photo: Lund University


The start of something special

Igelösa Life Science is founded by Steen and the Swedish entrepreneur Nils Gyllenkrok. A laboratory for experimental surgery is established in an old farmhouse, from which Steen and his research team has since conducted most of their preclinical work.

Photo: private


First-in-man EVLP

EVLP is performed for the first time when lungs from a victim of cardiac arrest is assessed outside the body before being transplanted into a 54-years old Swedish patient. This groundbreaking operation is preceded by a broad national ethical and legal consultation process involving the general public and professionals including doctors, nurses, hospital chaplains and judges (Steen et al 2001).

Photo: Lund University


First LUCAS used clinically

This LUCAS prototype was the first to be used at Lund University Hospital where it saved the life of a patient after conventional CPR had failed. Note the special suction cup that compresses and actively de-compresses the chest of the patient thus facilitating both ventilation and circulation.

Photo: Lund University


Ambulances start using LUCAS

Region Skåne installs LUCAS-devices in all ambulances in southern Sweden. The first generation is driven pneumatically. The second generation is released in 2009 and is now electrically powered. The third and most recent generation is released in 2016. LUCAS is the worldwide market leader among automatic CPR-devices.

Photo: Stryker


EVLP used to repair damaged lungs

Another first-of-its-kind lung transplantation is conducted at Lund University Hospital. Damaged lungs that were discarded by all Nordic transplant clinics, are reconditioned, assessed and made ready for transplantation with EVLP (Steen el al 2007).

Photo: Lund University


Expanding the facility

Founders Nils Gyllenkrok and Stig Steen

The second wing of the facility is inaugurated in the spring. It includes a human physiology laboratory, a research kitchen, a small chapel and ten guest rooms. Work begins to establish an extended research program for lifestyle related disease prevention.

Photo: Igelösa Life Science


CE-mark for STEEN Solution™

STEEN Solution™, used for EVLP, receives CE approval from the European central pharmaceutical agency and is thereby approved for clinical use in Europe. STEEN Solution™ is manufactured and distributed by the Swedish transplantation company Xvivo Perfusion.

Photo: Xvivo Perfusion


International interest for EVLP

Together with Lund University and Xvivo Perfusion, Igelösa Life Science begins to arrange EVLP courses for transplant clinics from all over the world. Participants in this photo include representatives from major North American transplant clinics such as Harvard University, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Alberta and Edmonton.

Photo: Igelösa Life Science


Siccona is established

Following some early and promising results from the lifestyle program, Siccona is established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Igelösa Life Science. Chefs initiate the work of modifying and adopting the traditional Okinawa diet to the Nordic cuisine.

Visit SICCONA for more information.


EVLP and immunology

Collaboration begins with the immunology expert Professor James Fildes and his team at Manchester University, UK. The aim is to determine whether EVLP can be used to remove pro-inflammatory cells prior to transplantation. Several publications indicate that this approach may reduce the risk of acute rejection of both lungs and hearts following transplantation (Critchley et al 2020; Stone et al 2020).

Photo: Critchley and Stone at Igelösa Life Science, 2016


Studying heart cells

Collaboration begins with Professor Anders Arner at Karolinska Institute (KI). The aim is to study cells from donor hearts with standard preservation and compare them with cells from hearts that have been kept in a novel preservation solution. After retiring from KI in 2018, Arner establish his own cell laboratory at Igelösa Life Science.

Photo: Lund University


Advancing Swedish palliative care

Carl-Magnus Edenbrandt, a pioneer in Swedish palliative medicine, joins the scientific community at Igelösa. Edenbrandt has been instrumental in introducing palliative medicine as a medical specialty in Sweden. Together with Axel Carlberg, PhD in ethics, he launches an educational program in palliative care for over 300 resident physicians in Sweden (2015-2018).

Photo: private


Ex vivo kidney perfusion

Michael Olausson, MD, PhD, Professor of Transplant Surgery at Gothenburg University is invited to conduct his preclinical research at Igelösa Life Science. His aim is to develop a model for reconditioning and assessing kidneys from uncontrolled Donation after Circulatory Death (uDCD).

Photo: Gothenburg University


Advancing xenotransplantation

Collaboration begins with Professor Bruno Reichart at Ludvig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. Reichart is one of the world’s foremost experts on xenotransplantation. In the autumn, the novel heart preservation method is applied for the first time in life-sustaining preclinical xenotransplantation.

Photo: (private) used courtesy of Ludvig Maximilian University


A visit from the Vatican

On October 31st, Pope Francis visits Lund to participate in a joint Lutheran-Catholic commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. On this historic event, Igelösa Life Science serves as the residence for Pope Francis and 15 of his closest delegates. Over 80 policemen and other security officers are enlisted to guard the facility.

Photo: L’Osservatore Romano © 2016 Vatican media


First transplantation with NIHP

The twenty-year heart preservation project reaches an important milestone when NIHP is used clinically for the first time. This groundbreaking operation is conducted at Lund University Hospital and garners international attention afterwards. The prototype, in which a donor heart is being safely kept while the surgical team prepares for implantation, is constructed at Igelösa Life Science.

Photo: Lund University


Breakthrough in xenotransplantation

The Lund-Munich groups report to have obtained consistent survival for 90 days following six cases of preclinical xenotransplantation. They have thereby reached a milestone set nearly twenty years ago by the International Society or Heart and Lung Transplantation for determining whether xenotransplantation is safe enough to try in humans.

Download the report in Nature (PDF).


First clinical xenotransplantation

In January, a 57-year-old American patient with terminal heart disease undergoes the first successful xenotransplantation of a genetically-modified pig heart. This historic operation is conducted by Dr. Griffith and Dr. Mohiuddin at the University of Maryland Medicine, USA. During the procedure, the pig heart is safely kept in NIHP using the heart system by Xvivo Perfusion.

Photo: University of Maryland School of Medicine © 2022


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Read more about the research of Igelösa and Stig Steen
at Lund University.

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