“The ability to bank organs would be one of the most important breakthroughs – and perhaps the most important breakthrough – in the field of transplantation in the last 50 years. It could be as impactful for patients in need of a transplant as the introduction of Cyclosporine.”
— Dr. David Nelson Chief of Heart Transplantation, Baptist Integris Medical Center
The global organ shortage is one of the greatest public health crises today. Roughly 30,000 vital organs are transplanted each year in the U.S., whereas hundreds of thousands of U.S. patients could benefit from organ replacement. The problem is even more severe worldwide. For instance, the continent of Africa contains 16% of the world’s population but performs less than 0.5% of its organ transplants.
Yet each year, a substantial fraction of donor organs go unused because of logistical constraints that could be eased or overcome by organ preservation advances. At the same time, organ preservation can improve our ability to match organ donors and recipients and screen for transmissible diseases, while decreasing the cost of transplantation. This means transplant recipients can live longer, healthier lives.
Organ preservation technologies also promise to accelerate the development of game-changing technologies for transplantation, such as immune tolerance induction and xenotransplantation.