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Regenerative Medicine for Human Organs

Thyroid

A number of articles appear here about regenerative medicine. The reason I think the topic is so important is 115,000 people are waiting for a lifesaving transplant. Another person is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes. Twenty-two people die each day because the organ they need was not donated in time. A single organ, eye, and tissue donor can save and heal up to 75 lives. The argument to be a donor is compelling, but only 52% of us have registered to become one.The Apple Health app provides a simple registration form you can submit directly from the iPhone app to the National Donate Life Registry. If you sign up, first responders will have access to the decision to be a donor right from the iPhone emergency screen. It took just seconds to register from my iPhone. Perhaps organs from someone my age would not be useful, but it costs nothing to sign up, and you never know.

I believe the ultimate solution to the shortage of donated organs is regenerative medicine using 3-D printing and pluripotent stem cells. There have been many breakthroughs. Scientists have successfully produced human kidney tissue within a living organism which is able to filter blood and produce urine, a first for medical science. The study signifies a significant milestone in the development of treatment for kidney disease. Researchers have also created human heart and liver tissue.

The latest breakthrough came from Russia. The Russians developed a magnetic bioprinter, and transported it to the International Space Station. Printing in a zero-gravity environment in space enables printed organs and tissues to mature at faster rates. The Russian scientists were able to print a mouse thyroid. The bioprinted thyroid is an important breakthrough for printing living tissues and microorganisms beyond the stratosphere. The thyroid will be implanted in a mouse back on Earth.

I find this research remarkable. It will take more time, but it seems clear the day of people dying because of a lack of a replacement organ will come to an end. Read more about regenerative medicine in Health Attitude: Unraveling and Solving the Complexities of Healthcare.