Technology helps create bio-engineered organs for human transplant

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More than 120,000 people are on the national organ transplant waiting list, and the list continues to grow. To meet this need, Miromatrix Medical, a small business funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is developing a technology to create bio-engineered organs for human transplant.

The technology removes all cells from existing human or animal organs (for instance, pig or cow) while preserving the material’s architecture, mechanical properties and blood vessel network -- giving the appearance of a “ghost organ” – and creating a decellularized matrix ready to receive new cells from the organ’s future recipient, minimizing potential organ rejection.

Dominique Seetapun, Miromatrix senior project development scientist, says the new technique improves upon existing technologies, which largely immerse organs in detergents that also degrade organ scaffolds, and complicate the growth of new cells into functional tissues and organs. Instead of submerging organs entirely in detergent, Miromatrix instead pumps the decellularization solution through the blood vessels, removing cells in less time and avoiding degradation of the scaffold, she says. The organs then can be recellularized and transplanted using current organ transplantation techniques.

Miromatrix is supported through the NSF Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program, a $188 million activity that catalyzes commercialization of high-risk technological innovations via research and development grants to small businesses and startups. Miromatrix was one of 50 NSF-funded startups and small businesses with innovative biotech, based on fundamental research, on display at the 2016 BIO International Convention. To learn more, visit:

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