At BIOLIFE4D, one of the most common questions we get is why the heart? Whether you’re reaching out to us on Facebook or Twitter, or getting in touch with us directly, we’re constantly getting asked – What about a lung? Can we bioprint kidneys?
One reason we’re focused on the heart is because, if you’re one of the 3,500-4,000 people who are on the heart transplant list at any time, unfortunately, someone else has to die in order for you to receive a heart. With hearts there are no living donors. While doctors are able to take a piece of someone else’s lung or kidney, and use that for transplant, because of the heart’s structure and the vital role it plays in our body, the same can’t be done for the heart.
Focusing on the heart also allows us to meet milestones that will have a major impact on our way to bioprinting a full sized, functioning human heart. Already, we’ve proven the ability to 3D bioprint grafts, cardiac patches and heart valves that could significantly improve the quality of life for people suffering from early stage heart challenges. This year, we hit our biggest milestone to date – the ability the 3D bioprint a mini human heart! The mini heart alone could be used by pharmaceutical companies to run cardiac toxicity screenings as well as to provide better predictive results of new drugs and therapies as compared to existing animal models. Also, our mini heart has the potential to significantly reduce the number of animals currently used for testing purposes
Finally, we’re focused on the heart because donor hearts are not a cure-all. As tough as it is to say, trading heart disease for a transplanted heart is like trading one disease for another. Heart transplant recipients are forced to take numerous types of medication each day, and even still, rejection is a real problem! Among the people fortunate enough to receive a lifesaving heart transplant, unfortunately half die within 10 years of transplantation due to complications relating to using a donor’s organ.
While these statistics alone are sobering, there are also about 200,000 people just in the US alone that need a heart transplant to save their life but don’t even qualify to be on the waiting list. This is why we’re so focused on eliminating the need for donor hearts.
In searching for a way to bioprint a human heart, we’re trying to solve for a process that took Mother Nature hundreds of thousands of years to perfect, and we have never been closer! Our mini heart was a major milestone, but to advance the technology further, we need your help! If you are interested in becoming part of our team and joining us as we move this incredible technology to the market please consider investing in BIOLIFE4D. Every day counts.
–Team at BIOLIFE4D
Got heart? Support BIOLIFE4D as we work to better humanity’s future. Invest now to build a heart and save a life.