Bioengineering research has the potential to revolutionize our approach to repairing or replacing damaged tissues and organs. It will not be limited by the number of donors, nor will it require non-ideal and often temporary mechanical solutions. However, many challenges remain. For these reasons, our Alliance focuses on accelerating bioengineering research strategies to overcome the critical challenges toward ending the organ shortage.
Just like plastics and metals, biologic material can be used in 3D printing. Researchers are creating 3D bioprinters and printing techniques to engineer new functioning tissues and organs. However, critical challenges remain ahead.
Researchers are attempting to grow functioning tissues and organ replacements in the laboratory. These strategies typically involve nurturing cells in a nutrient bath until they have matured into a functioning tissue or organ that can be implanted into the body.
Similar to 3D printing in some ways, these research strategies use an extracellular matrix as a scaffold upon which scientists can seed cells, thereby growing new tissues or organs based on a scaffold that guides the cell placement and growth.
Some animals have similar biology to us so that they can be used to incubate and mature human cells, tissues, and organs. Their bodies can provide support to the new tissues at critical times before they are transplanted into a patient in need.