Have a heart: Saving lives one organ at a time 

Roses and chocolates come to mind when we think of the 14th of February, but did you know that it is also National Donor Day? Organizations like Donate Life America encourage building awareness about the shortage of organ and tissue donors since an average of 22 patients a day die because they did not find a match in time. Although 1 donor could save or heal as many as 8 to 75 lives, only 50% of Americans are registered as organ or tissue donors.

Even if another 25% of Americans register as donors, successfully transplanting organs from a matching donor poses its own hurdles (i.e., organ viability, geographical distance, immune rejection). CELLINK is proud to support the many scientists and researchers who are working with our bioinks and bioprinters to make bioprinting transplantable organs a reality in the future. It is important to note, however, that today’s bioprinted tissue and organ-like structures are conceivably ready to use in drug development and testing, bypassing the need for animal testing and shortening clinical trials.

Organs and Tissues Bioprinted with CELLINK’s Bioinks and Devices.

Replacement hearts

  • BIOLIFE4D recently used patient-derived cardiomyocytes and an INKREDIBLE+ bioprinter to engineer a “mini” human heart that replicated cardiac functions. CEO Steve Morris explains that this technology not only addresses the shortage of donors, but by using a patient’s own cells in vitro, they hope to also solve the problem of organ rejection.

Developing hearts

  • Alex Cetnar, a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is bioprinting models of developing hearts in order to better understand how congenital heart defects form in the early weeks of fetal life. He is hoping to eventually find a cure that doesn’t require heart transplants.

Bionic pancreas

  • Michał Wszoła at the Foundation of Research and Science Development in Warsaw, Poland, led a team that successfully bioprinted a vascularized bionic pancreas whose response to glucose stimuli was reproducible. Dr. Wszoła’s breakthrough uses the cells of diabetic patients to bioprint the pancreas, this solution could avoid the need for lifelong immunosuppressive therapy after transplantation.

Human cornea

  • Dr. Mandip Sachdeva and his research team at Florida A&M University used the BIO X to bioprint a human cornea, the first in the United States. This work could lead to cornea transplants or ocular drug testing in the future. Either way, Dr. Sachdeva hopes to “transform patients’ lives so they can see this world differently.”

 

Are you working on a similar project? Share how your research is contributing to the future of medicine and printing life. And, if you’re not already a registered donor, consider signing up today.

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