3D PRINTING: GROWING ORGANS IN SPACE


Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine, located in Winston-Salem, creates tissues and organs along with other therapies to treat patients. The Institute has been operational for for over 30 years, and its director, Dr. Anthony Atala, expressed that the biggest obstacle in creating tissues and organs was getting cells to grow. Now, according to Dr. Atala, the Institute is able to grow all major cell types.


Dr. Atala said, “it takes time to get cells to grow, to put cells together, creating tissues, creating tissues to make organs.”


For the past several years, the Institute has increased its 3D printing, which helps to create different types of organs, beginning with flat structures like skin to more complex like tubular organs to even more complex like solid organs such as the heart, kidneys, and lungs.

Dr. Atala indicated that the next step is to have these organ creations be made in space.


Recently in April, Axiom Space indicated that its coming to Winston-Salem in a three-way partnership with WFIRM and RegenMed Development Organization. They will be developing a space station that will replace the International Space Station, which NASA will be decommissioning in 2031.


This partnership is interested in making sure the Institute can get regenerative manufacturing in space. Dr. Atala added, “one of the main things is how can we grow cells in space and then bring those cells back here and learn how to make them better? Another is how do we create tissues that we can implant into our space travelers.”


Humans are living longer so the demand for organ creation has increased. Dr. Atala warned that “one of the major challenges we have is there are not enough organs to go around for transplantation.”


The Institute plans to train the next generation of astronauts to create tissues and organs in space.


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La Shon Y. Fleming Bruce a/k/a SHONSPEAKS is a blogger, futurist, certified brain health specialist, speaker, and lead creator of freeyourthinkingmind.com. I am also a lawyer and managing member of The Fleming-Bruce Law Firm, P.L.L.C. If you want to check out more of my writings that may not be released on this site, go over to my website at freeyourthinkingmind.com

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