The ability to artificially grow organs may seem futuristic, but Indiana University School of Medicine researchers are closer to enabling that reality than you may think.
Burcin Ekser, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of surgery at IU School of Medicine, and his research team are working to print 3D pig liver tissue from genetically engineered pig liver cells. Then, they use this 3D-printed tissue to develop new research models for xenotransplantation, or cross-species transplantation.
Dr. Ekser, who is director of the school’s xenotransplantation research lab, recently secured a four-year, $9 million sponsored research agreement from Lung Biotechnology PBC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Therapeutics Corp. Lung Biotechnology is a Maryland-based company focused on organ transplantation technologies, including through xenotransplantation.
According to the latest data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, there are more than 110,000 people in the United States waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, and each day, about 20 people die while waiting for a transplant.
A news release about the research agreement is available online.