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ESTIMATED U.S. AVERAGE CHARGES PER TRANSPLANT Here’s a look at the average costs of organ transplants as reported by Milliman, Inc. The estimates include costs from 30 days pre-transplant, organ procurement, hospital fees, 180 days post-surgery and all medications.


TRANSPLANT SINGLE ORGAN Bone Marrow — Allogenic Bone Marrow— Autologous Cornea Heart


Intestine Kidney Liver


Lung — Single Lung — Double


TOTAL $


892,700 409,600 30,200


1,382,400 1,147,300 414,800 812,500 861,700


1,190,700


2014 but dropped to 115,759 by the end of 2017. Some of the reduction is due to


the recent ability to use organs that were once discarded, as well as policy changes regarding transplant crite- ria. Another significant reason is the increase in deceased donors over the last few years — in part because of the heroin and opioid epidemics. UNOS says there were 10,000 de-


ceased donors in 2017, a 3 percent in- crease from 2016. About 1,300 — or 13 percent — of the donors died from overdoses, a three-fold increase over the last five years. “There was a 25 percent increase


in organ donors in Maryland alone in 2016,” due to the availability of organs from overdose victims, says Dr. Rolf Barth, head of the Transplant Division at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “That’s something that had a great impact on narrowing the gap.” Experts say the future looks even


brighter as researchers in hospitals and universities work toward break- throughs that could dramatically re- duce the waiting list — or eventually wipe it out. They point to increased research


into the possibility of regenerating organs, growing new ones from stem cells, 3-D bioprinting of organs using


KIDNEY LIVER PANCREAS


HEART- LUNG


SURVIVAL RATE Patients are living longer with new, innovative advancements in transplant procedures.


ORGAN HEART


SURVIVAL RATE 1991 1-year 5-year 1-year 5-year 1-year 5-year 1-year 5-year 1-year 5-year


82%


2011 MOST RECENT 91%


67% 80% 94% 96% 79%


83%


79% 90% 68%


77%


89% 94% 78% 63% 36%


82% 63% 79%


91% 78% 97% 86% 91% 75% 92% 80% 98% 88%


materials from a patient and xeno- transplantation, using live cells, tis- sues or organs from animals — like piglets — in humans. 3-D bioprinting, which borrows a


layering technique toy companies use to create action figures, has become one of the new frontiers of transplan- tation. In 2016, researchers at the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) in Winston-Sa- lem, N.C., transplanted 3-D printed tissue into mice and pigs. Scientists in Spain have made a pro- totype bioprinter capable of print- ing 3-D skin cells. Australian surgeons successfully im- planted a tibia in a man’s leg, avoid- ing amputation. WFIRM Director Anthony Atala,


says his team has successfully printed ear, bone, and muscle structures that worked in rodents and could, eventu- ally work in humans. “The first step in printing an organ


or tissue structure for a patient would be to expand the patient’s cells in the laboratory to obtain the millions of cells required to engineer the replace- ment tissue,” Atala explains. “The printing process itself is designed to keep these cells alive and provide the conditions for them to continue to


multiply.” The printer has small nozzles to


“precisely deposit both biodegradable, plastic-like materials to form the tissue shape and water-based gels that con- tain the cells,” Atala says. The “ink” is used to promote cell


health and growth and a lattice of micro-channels is printed throughout the structure “to allow nutrients and oxygen from the body to diffuse into the structures and keep them alive while the tissues develop their own system of blood vessels.” He says scientists at WFIRM have


also been developing skin bioprinting to print skin cells on burn wounds and similar injuries among soldiers return- ing from Afghanistan and Iraq. “Burn wounds are the most com-


mon cause of mortality on the battle- field, comprising 10 to 30 percent of all casualties,” he says. Atala says researchers have suc-


cessfully engineered several categories of tissues and organs by hand and im- planted them in patients, but he says bioprinted organs won’t be ready for clinical use for years. “Someday in the future, 3-D bio-


printing could very well limit the need for donors,” he says. “Regenera- tive medicine offers the hope of en- gineering replacement organs in the


MAY 2018 | NEWSMAX 55


SOURCE: UNOS


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