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The official blog of the Lung Institute.

What 3-D Printing Could Mean for Lung Disease Sufferers

10 Apr 2015
| Under Lung Transplant, Treatments | Posted by | 9 Comments
3-D Printnig could mean for Lung Disease Suffers Lung Institute

National Donate Life Month

Each April, the United States celebrates National Donate Life Month (NDLM). For one month, we think of the thousands of individuals patiently waiting for an organ that will change their life forever. Right now, there are nearly 124,000 people in the United States currently waiting for an organ transplant. But the organ donation stats are even more startling than that.

  • More than 1,000 of the individuals waiting for an organ are under 10 years of age.
  • On average, 150 people are added to the nation’s organ transplant waiting list each day; that’s one every 10 minutes.
  • Sadly, on average, 21 people die each day because the organs they need are not donated in time.

Seeing the sad reality that hundreds of people die each year due to a lack of an organ donor, researchers are looking for an alternative. Enter 3-D printing.

The new process of 3-D printing everything from toys to collectibles to nuts and bolts has taken a life-changing turn. Now, scientists are finding a far more complex and exciting possibility: 3-D printing human organs.

For years, medical researchers have been reproducing human cells to create blood vessels, skin tissue and other living body parts. Some revolutionary physicians at the Lung Institute are even using autologous cells to promote healing for sufferers of a variety of pulmonary conditions. Using the precise ability for 3-D printers to reproduce vascular systems is simply the next step on the journey to a healthier world.

Currently, the technology for printing whole human organs for surgical transplants is still years away. But there’s hope that 3-D printers could someday produce much-needed organs for transplants.

An Introduction to Bioprinting

An article from CNN, The next frontier in 3-D printing: Human organs, explains the basics of the emerging technologies:

“Bioprinting works like this: Scientists harvest human cells from biopsies or cells, then allow them to multiply in a petri dish. The resulting mixture, a sort of biological ink, is fed into a 3-D printer, which is programmed to arrange different cell types, along with other materials, into a precise three-dimensional shape. Doctors hope that when placed in the body, these 3-D-printed cells will integrate with existing tissues.”

So far, there have been several successes including a two-year old girl, born without a trachea, who received a windpipe built with her own cells. At the heart of emerging medical technologies reside cells.

For sufferers of a chronic lung disease, the many possibilities of cellular therapy are quite evident. Cellular therapy provides another option for sufferers to Breathe EasierTM. It harnesses the innate healing power of a patient’s own cells in order to help slow down the progression of the disease.

Today, lung disease can be treated with cells harvested from the patient’s own blood to replace damaged lung cells with healthy ones. This innovative procedure may slow the progression of the disease, but it also may improve lung function and may reduce inflammation.

For more information on how cellular therapy could help you, contact the Lung Institute at 888-745-6697.

* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months of COPD patients.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.