The regenerative-medicine company, Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology (HART), is developing synthetic tracheas. If all goes well, the company hope to expand to other sysnthetic organs.
Back in 2008, technology developed by HART led to the first-ever human transplant of a regenerative airway. In its latest venture, synthetic tracheas are made by taking the patient’s stem cells from their bone marrow. The cells are then grown on a scaffold made from tiny fibers, creating a tube which can be made to fit each individual patient.
The manufactured tracheas were developed in research labs and are now being tested in Russia. HART plans to continue the tests in the EU before heading to the United States. The plan is to move development to a manufacturing facility.
This could be the first building block to developing other artificial organs, like heart valves and kidneys according to MIT Technology Review. This is potentially a big step in solving the issue of long lists of patients waiting for organ transplants. Every day, patients die waiting for donor organs. In the U.S. alone, 120,000 people are on waiting lists for an organ, estimates the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
[Image via Descopera]