One solution for the shortage of transplantable organs is creating artificial ones that last.
Already, researchers are developing bioartificial organs that can keep patients with serious organ failure alive and functioning for years. For now, the goal is to keep patients alive until they can receive a real organ, but one day, patients may be able to live for long periods of time with artificial hearts or kidneys.
Currently, SynCardia Systems, Inc. provides patients with a full-functioning artificial heart. The manufactured heart replaces both failing ventricles and all four heart valves and eliminates the need for pacemakers and defibrillators. The longest a patient has been supported with the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is nearly four years before receiving a successful transplant.
Kidney failure is being addressed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, who will attempt to successfully demonstrate that their replacement organ works in humans. The project, lead by researcher, Shuvo Roy, will eliminate the need for dialysis. A silicon filter removes toxins from the blood. The artificial kidney is able to maintain the appropriate water balance in the body. Human testing for the kidney is scheduled for 2017.
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