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Take home 3
Currently the supply of organs being donated to those on waiting lists is only achieving 10% of the global demand. Each year in the United States 120, 000 people are put on the transplant waiting list. Only 28,000 of those people will receive a transplant. A majority of those waiting will die before receiving a transplant. In addition to those on the waiting list there are just as many who did not make the cut for various reasons including age, former ailments and other diagnoses. Patients and organs must meet a plethora of criteria in order to be matched for transplant. What if we didn't need to wait on a list or be matched up. What if we could use our own cells for a rejection free transplant. This is just the case.
How is this possible? Researches have been working on printing our own cells to create livers and kidneys. There are several possibilities in the works. First being a grow your own organ type plan of attack. Stem cells are taken from the person needing the organ and they are grown on a 3-D type scaffolding of the organ. The protein scaffolding contains no cells and the cells used to grow the organ belong to the patient so there is no need for immunosuppressant drugs. The odds of implementing this in patients is high. The only resource needed is money, an estimated 10-30 million dollars in funding. Scientists know how to create the scaffolding, which gives zero chance of rejection in the patient. The second step is to take the variation of cell and turn it into a stem cell that can be created into an organ. The science is already understood and in 2013 a liver was created from this process. Within the next 10 years its estimated that we will see the first no immunosuppressant engineered organ transplant.
Another form of organ transplant on the horizon is 3D bioprinting. This process involves determining the structure and elements to create tissue in a 3D printer. Once the structure is determined, the printer uses a series of multi cellular building blocks from cells to generate the desired tissue. This process allows a 3D model to be created that is virtually biologically identical to a real organ. This process is still relatively new. It's been used to generate tissue and replacement parts but nothing as complex as livers and kidneys. By 2030 researchers expect be able to 3D print complex organs like liver and kidneys and intestines. Furthermore the wait time will be just the time required to make and grow cells!(Dvorsky, G)
Dvorsky, G. (2015, February 2). How We'll Finally Put An End To Organ Donation Shortages. Retrieved April 16, 2016, from