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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research projects > Materials & technologies projects > Biomaterials for health, wealth and employment
Graphic element Biomaterials for health, wealth and employment
    09-06-2000
 

Biohybrid organs

For organ failure, a transplant is often the only solution. Yet donor organs are in short supply, they may be rejected by the patient's immune system, and there is a danger of transmitting an infectious disease to the recipient.

Artificial organs such as the haemodialyser represent another strategy. The problem is that these organs simply cannot compete with the living organs they replace. Haemodialysis patients have a poor quality of life and a low life expectancy. A recently developed 'artificial liver' has saved a few lives when a transplant was rapidly available, but it performs only one of the liver's many functions, and can extend a patient's life for only a few days.

A new idea is to produce semi-artificial (or 'bio-hybrid') organs in which living human cells perform their normal physiological functions. Such organs would first be developed for use outside the body, then adapted for implantation. Exciting EC-funded research in this area includes the membranes for biohybrid systems project.

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Bio-hybrid organs
Major EU-funded biomaterials projects
   

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