The bioreactor, a specialized rotating incubator, seeds the patient's bone marrow cells onto a synthetic trachea scaffold (pink).

Human Organs Manufacturing Moves From Research Labs to Production Facility

Jan. 17, 2014
From an MIT Technology Review report: "Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology, or HART, is testing its synthetic trachea system in Russia and has plans for similar tests in the European Union this year. The company is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to set up a trial in the United States as well."

A Boston-area company is taking the next step toward moving the manufacture of human organs from the research labs to manufacturing facilities, according to an MIT Technology Review report.

"Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology, or HART, is testing its synthetic trachea system in Russia and has plans for similar tests in the European Union this year. The company is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to set up a trial in the United States as well.

The synthetic windpipes are made by growing a patient’s own stem cells on a lab-made scaffold. In the future, this technique could be adapted to create other organs, such as a replacement esophagus, heart valve, or kidney."

Last October, a report in The Lancet announced that the world's first tissue-engineered trachea transplant patient "enjoys good quality of life with no complications." Researchers and doctors who were quoted in press release about the announcement, assert that the patient's progress indicates that a "tissue-engineering strategy" is safe and promising.

Though the patient's new trachea was grown on a decellularized trachea from a human donor, not a synthetic trachea, David Green, CEO of HART, as quoted in the press release, noted the similarities between the two approaches. "[The results] bode well not only for implants involving decellularized human donor organs, but, because the cell-seeding and implant procedures are almost identical, also for the long-term success of organs grown on synthetic scaffolds in our bioreactors."

The MIT report notes that the four most recent artificial trachea surgeries have been done with these lab-made scaffolds, according to Green.

Read the full report at TechnologyReview.com.

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