$50 billion per year in research funding goes to funding bodies whose missions are directly impacted by cryopreservation progress in the U.S. alone, including over 80% of NIH’s budget.
The Organ Preservation Alliance works with leaders across science agencies and other stakeholder groups to make preservation research a common priority, connecting them with leading experts in relevant fields and helping guide efforts to support preservation research.
As an example, in the last two years the Organ Preservation Alliance has connected Department of Defense officials to dozens of experts in organ preservation and cryopreservation, leading to six new funding programs for complex tissue preservation and banking that have funded dozens of labs.
WHO WE WORK WITH
The Organ Preservation Alliance also works with scientific journals, magazines and other media sources who are interested in covering cryopreservation advances. This has substantially raised interest in the field among the scientific community and general public, with coverage by The Economist, WIRED, Scientific American, Nature Biotechnology and other sources.
These efforts have benefited tremendously from the support of larger stakeholder organizations such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations. Hundreds of such organizations benefit directly from preservation advances. One of the Organ Preservation Alliance’s top priorities is to help these organizations support organ and tissue preservation research in the most impactful ways possible.
Building an Organ Banking “Apollo Program”
The ability to cryopreserve organs and large tissues would be transformative across many areas of biomedicine, yet the exceptionally interdisciplinary nature of this research topic remains a major institutional challenge that has historically impeded progress.
Complex tissue cryopreservation is a quintessential “convergence technology,” requiring projects to combine expertise in engineering, biochemistry, biophysics, molecular and cell biology, organ chemistry, and thermodynamics.
The Organ Preservation Alliance has assembled a network of dozens of leading cryopreservation researchers, along with clinicians and experts from surrounding fields, who have outlined the remaining “sub-challenges” for complex tissue cryopreservation and identified key research opportunities. Events such as the first global Organ Banking Summit in 2015, an NSF-funded technology roadmapping process, and a White House Roundtable on Organ Banking and Bioengineering have provided focal points for these discussions.
A central theme that has emerged is the need for new labs with a large range of expertise to join the complex tissue banking effort. Research areas where progress has accelerated during the last decade, such as nanotechnology, bioinformatics, imaging, computational chemistry, and ex vivo perfusion technologies can provide key solutions to tissue cryopreservation challenges. The vast majority of these opportunities remain untapped.