Organ transplant market is getting bigger each year and according to a report, it will be a $51 billion market by 2025 with a CAGR of 9.1%. Each year almost half a million people die in India because they don’t get a donor on time. Organ donation is lowest in India- 0.26 per million as compared to 26 per million in USA and 36 per million in Spain. There are around 1,50,000 patients who need a kidney transplant but only 5000 got it.
If a person becomes a donor then he can save 8 lives. According to one report, almost 20 people die in the USA every day from the lack of available organs for transplant. To solve the problem of organ shortage, scientists have been working on the solution of bio-printing. It is going to change the world in the next 2 decades because of the limitations that they are facing in developing a fully functional organ. Recently they showed a penny sized part of the lung which is capable of injecting air from surrounding into de-oxygenated blood that flowed from it. This method can be used in developing the organs in the future. To make this, the scientists have used an open source technology called stereolithography apparatus for tissue building. The scientists have used a new type of light-sensitive Hydrogel to print the vascular network. Hydrogel hardens in the presence of blue light, which allow them to mould each layer and then solidify it.
A challenge that they faced while experimenting because of the transparent nature of hydrogel is that the layer underneath another layer gets affected when shown light. To solve this problem, they used yellow food dye which is bio-compatible and opaque in nature. The limitation that with this solution is that the smallest feature that they develop is of 0.13 mm in diameter which is 2 times larger than the cell of the human body.
Today the average waiting time for organ is 3.6 years and this technology will take almost 1-2 decades before getting mainstream. We cannot wait that long as thousands of people die because of waiting each year. Think if we somehow manage to build a temporary organ for the waiting period which can save life or a way which can detect the organ failure before it happens. This is a problem which needs to be addressed and solving this problem is one aspect, we need to find a way to prevent it.
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