Soon printing a human heart on demand will no longer be sci-fi

103403134-gettyimages-99695587-530x298Imagine being able to grow a liver in a laboratory from cells and tissue for a transplant patient. Or engineering cells to grow into a heart valve to replace one damaged from heart disease. Around the world, start-ups — like Tokyo-based Cyfuse Biomedical — are emerging to develop such breakthroughs in the field of regenerative medicine. It is a market projected to reach $101.3 billion by 2022.

Unlike conventional medicines and treatments, regenerative medicines have the ability to restore or heal the body’s own cells or create new body parts from a patient’s own cells and tissues, thereby eliminating tissue rejection and the excessively long wait for a donor organ.

This would be a remarkable scientific achievement, considering that in the United States, 118,950 people are registered in the Organ Procurement Transplantation Network. Of these candidates, 22 die each day waiting for a lifesaving organ. The gap between supply and demand continues to widen, and it’s a problem many medical experts have called a major health crisis.

By Julian Littler | CNBC

Image Credit: Sebastian Kaulitzk (Getty Images)

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