In America at least 17 people per day Dies while waiting for an organ transplant. But instead of waiting for the donor to die, what if we could one day grow our own organs?
Last week, six years later NASA announces the Vascular Tissue Challenge, The agency has selected two winning teams in a competition aimed at accelerating research that could one day lead to artificial organs. The challenge required the teams to create thick, vascularized human organ tissue that could survive for 30 days.
The two teams, named Winston and WFIRM, are both from Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative MedicineVarious 3D printing techniques were used to create lab-grown liver tissue that meets all of NASA’s requirements and maintains its functionality.
“We took two different approaches because when you look at tissues and blood vessels, you look at the body doing two main things,” he says. Anthony Atala, WFIRM Team Leader and Institute Director.
The two approaches differ in the way blood vessels are formed – how blood vessels are formed inside the body. One used tubular structures and the other spongy tissues to help deliver cellular nutrients and remove waste. According to Atala, the challenge is a hallmark of bioengineering because the liver, the largest internal organ in the body, is one of the most complex tissues to reproduce due to the large number of functions it performs.
“When the competition took off six years ago, we knew we were trying to solve this problem ourselves,” Atala says.
Combined with advances in regenerative medicine and facilitating the creation of artificial organs for humans who need transplants, the project could one day help astronauts on future deep space missions.
He says the concept of tissue engineering has been around for more than 20 years Laura Nicholson, professor of anesthesiology and biomedical engineering at Yale University, but a growing interest in space experiments is beginning to change the field. “Especially as the world is now looking at private and commercial spaceflight, the biological effects of low gravity are going to become more and more important, and this is a great tool to help understand that.”
But the winning teams still have to overcome one of the biggest hurdles in the field of tissue engineering: “Keeping things alive and functioning over a long period is a real challenge,” he says. Andrea O’Connor, chair of the University of Melbourne’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, who calls this project, and others like him ambitious.
Equipped with a $300,000 cash prize, the first-place team – Winston – will soon have the opportunity to send their research to the International Space Station, where similar research has already been conducted on organs.
at 2019 Astronaut Christina Koch has activated the Biofabrication Facility (BFF), which the Space Research Corporation has built in Greenville, Indiana. Techshot To print organic tissues in microgravity.