Technology Roadmapping program. We are bringing together the world’s leading experts, government agencies, and other stakeholders to chart the scientific path for a family of complementary technologies that would allow for the short, medium, ultimately indefinite storage of human organs and tissues. Through interviews and lab visits with leading authorities in many fields, sweeping cross-disciplinary literature analyses, and invite-only roundtable discussions with NIH institutes, the Dept. of Defense, NASA, NSF and other agencies as well as industry leaders and professors at top institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, and Johns Hopkins, we are outlining the scientific research and investments needed to increase preservation time from minutes to hours to ultimately stopping biological time in human organs and other complex tissues.
We work with government agencies in the US and abroad to identify and create opportunities for organ and tissue preservation research to advance technology so that one day on-demand organs and complex tissues are the standard.
In the US, roughly $50 billion in U.S. annual research funding goes to agencies with missions directly impacted by advances in organ and tissue storage – including 80% of NIHs annual budget. Yet despite the widespread public health impact of this area and its growing role as a bottleneck in many scientific and medical priorities, almost no federal funding has historically gone toward organ and tissue preservation research. This is a coordination failure on a colossal scale, one that will continue to cost millions of lives worldwide in the coming years. With its impacts diffuse, affecting dozens of areas of biomedicine, organ and tissue storage has no natural champion and has remained an orphaned field. We are solving this problem by aligning the many federal agencies around the common goal of achieving breakthroughs in biopreservation and ultimately eliminating storage limits for organs, tissues, and other biological materials as a barrier to research and medicine.As an initial goal, we are seeking to unleash hundreds of millions of dollars in US federal support to break through biopreservation barriers in the coming years. If federal funding agencies with a large stake in this issue allocate an average of just $10 million by 2020 – less than 0.1% of their average annual budget – then we will have achieved this goal. With this investment likely to accelerate progress in many surrounding areas of research and medicine, more support is likely to follow until biostorage limits have been eliminated in transplantation, tissue engineering, basic research, drug development, and many other areas.