Inflection Point: Tissue Regeneration

May 19 2008 / by juldrich / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Biotechnology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 7 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

Cross-posted from www.jumpthecurve.net

One of my preferred methods for trying to understand where the future might be headed is to look for those areas where technology can address a compelling human need. To this point, this past weekend I read with great interest this opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Why We Need a Market for Human Organs.” It’s a well-reasoned piece and the sentiment appeals to my more libertarian and free market-oriented sensibilities. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that within the next 10-15 years advances in tissue and organ regeneration technology will render the need for “organ markets” obsolete.

I have written about this idea before, but I’d encourage you to read this new government report entitled “2020: A New Vision – A Future for Regenerative Medicine.” According to the report the current world market for replacement organ therapies is in excess of $350 billion. More disturbing, however, is the fact that there are currently over 100,000 patients are on a waiting list for an organ donation and an estimated 8,000 people on that list will die this year while waiting for a transplant. (cont.)

The latter situation is an unacceptable, but if one combines the vast economic opportunity with the growing need for organ donation (this need will only grow larger as millions of Baby Boomers age), it is clear to me that the incentive (and, wuite likely, the government funding) will be there for scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs to address this issue in the years ahead.

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Comment Thread (2 Responses)

  1. Although it’s hard to predict when exactly certain technologies will hit the market, any idea on the winning replacement(s) for organ markets? Organ printing, stem cell-based regrowth, tissue/organ patching, biohybrid materials, etc?

    Posted by: Marisa Vitols   May 19, 2008
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  2. Marissa,

    Good question. I don’t have a good idea at the present time. I suspect, however, that the winning solution is likely to include aspects of all of the technologies you mentioned.

    Posted by: juldrich   May 19, 2008
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