Doctors have been able to successfully complete the first lung transplant operation using damaged donor lungs.
A pioneering technique means damaged lungs can be treated with nutrients and oxygen in a laboratory, allowing them to be transplanted.
Previously, eight out of 10 donor lungs were considered unsuitable for transplants, because they can suffer damage or inflamation following the death of the patient.
Cystic fibrosis sufferer James Finlayson, 24, was the first person to receive lungs resuscitated by doctors.
Paul Corris, academic director of the Transplant Institute in Newcastle, said: “We treated the damaged lungs outside the body for six hours and then transplanted them to the patient, who was dying of cystic fibrosis.
“The lungs were put on a special piece of equipment which supplies them with oxygen and solution, allowing them to heal.
“Without the transplant, James would have died within six months.”
Scientists now believe the number of lung transplants could double, with some of the 350 patients on the UK waiting list being saved.
Professor Corris said: ‘We think it can increase the number of lung transplants by up to 100 a year.”