The shortage of organs for kidney transplants has been met with a tech solution that eliminates the need for donors. The latest touted breakthrough took place live on stage at the latestTED conference in California.
A surgeon specialising in regenerative medicine on Thursday “printed” a real kidney using a machine that removes the wait for donors when it comes to organ transplants.
Scanners are used to take a 3-D image of a kidney that needs replacing, then a tissue sample about half the size of postage stamp is used to seed the computerised process, Atala explained.
The organ “printer” then works layer-by-layer to build a replacement kidney replicating the patient’s tissue.
College student Luke Massella was among the first people to receive a printed kidney during experimental research a decade ago when he was just 10 years old.
He said he was born with Spina Bifida and his kidneys were not working.
“Now, I’m in college and basically trying to live life like a normal kid,” said Massella, who was reunited with Atala at TED.
“This surgery saved my life and made me who I am today.”
About 90 percent of people waiting for transplants are in need of kidneys, and the need far outweighs the supply of donated organs, according to Atala.
“There is a major health crisis today in terms of the shortage of organs,” Atala said. “Medicine has done a much better job of making us live longer, and as we age our organs don’t last.” — AFP