Our bodies are far from perfect, and as such, we have organs that sometimes fail us. This isn’t good because we need those organs, much like a car needs important parts to its engine in order for it to function effectively. In the past, those who were in need of organ replacement had to wait on lists that may or may not afford them the opportunity to find a good donor who could match the recipients’ blood type.
Unfortunately, this wait left many to die without ever finding a donor. To make matters worse, the black market began to step up to meet the demands of those in need of organ replacement by supplying organs that were illegally taken from individuals who were murdered for their organs. This dark truth was uncovered in China when their billion-dollar enterprise of organ supply began to unravel, showing how prisoners and foreigners were often killed for their organs.
Now, these issues may come to an end, thanks to a new breakthrough that promises to provide everyone with the organs they need without the need of finding a donor.
The creation of synthetic organs is something that many within the medical field often wished for. Many efforts were made in the past to develop organs that could replicate the organ of the recipient, all while accepting the recipients’ blood type for effective and successful blood flow.
This was often the problem that many scientists face in the creation of synthetic organs…the issue of blood flow. In some cases, the blood vessels within the synthetic organs were virtually impossible to create—which is critical because blood vessels are needed to ensure a good supply of oxygen for the newly created tissue.
Unfortunately, this failure to create blood vessels that could co-exist with a newly created organ became the stump that often shut down medical experts…until now.
Recently, the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation published a report that suggested the findings of a group of scientists who have found the solution to the problem that often hindered the advancement of synthetic organs.
With a method called SWIFT, scientists have found a way to allow the survival of synthetic organs that once failed due to insufficient blood vessel formation. This breakthrough promises to push the medical industry one step closer to a future with “rejection-free” and “on-demand” organ transplants.
This is not the first of synthetic organs being used on individuals in need. In 2011, the world’s first synthetic organ transplant was successfully completed by a group of surgeons in Sweden on a 36-year-old cancer patient. Scientists in London created an artificial windpipe which was coated in the patient’s stem cells.
The operation was successful because the technique did not need a donor, and there was no risk of the organ being rejected. The key to the technique used was the modeling of the structure that was an exact replica of the patient’s own windpipe. This was a simple task, thanks to the help of UK experts who assisted with a 3D scan of the patients’ windpipe.
Such advancements in the medical field will help to ensure that those who are in need of new organs will receive them without relying on the donation of others. By simply using what a patient already has in order to create new tissue, along with finding ways to mimic blood vessels that are small enough to allow blood flow, scientists and medical experts are helping to save lives globally.
By utilizing synthetic organs, scientists are also ending the sale of organs in the black market that are often stolen from individuals who were murdered. With this continued scientific growth and advancement, nanotechnology has proven that it will continue to play a major role in improving medicine, individual health, and the way that our bodies function.