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Sergey Dragun | 06/23/2020
Dean Kamen founded the Institute for Advanced Regenerative Production (ARMI), a nonprofit consortium of some 170 US companies, research institutes, and organizations. They make
annual fee, provide equipment or make other funds in exchange for research data. The project is funded by 300 million dollars. It remains only to get approval
Federal Agency for Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Many scientists are trying to grow organs. But the Kamen group is distinguished by the depth of development – they create tools and mechanisms for mass production, in case the FDA approves them for
patients. He wants to produce hearts and kidneys in much the same way that factories manufacture smartphones – on assembly lines.
Kamen says ARMI will succeed – “be it an organ or a piece of an organ” – in ten years.
Despite the fact that industrializing the production of human organs may sound like the most fantastic bluff since Genghis Khan, Kamen can do it all.
Kamen turned to the artificial organ project four years ago. It was then that he met Martina Rothblatt. After the daughters of Rothblatt were diagnosed with pulmonary arterial
hypertension, she founded United Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that developed drugs to treat it. Rothblatt told Kamen that in addition to her pharmaceuticals
the research team worked on growing artificial lungs from the stem cells of patients sentenced to death. He visited UT laboratories to verify this. There he was
amazed at what obsolete equipment was in the laboratories. He told Rothblatt that he could add sensors and systems to improve accuracy and maintain sterility.
Over the past 15 years, impressive advances in organ cultivation have occurred. One of the most interesting events happened at Wake University School of Regenerative Medicine.
Forest There, in 1999, Anthony Atala, MD, raised a bladder and implanted it in a patient. Since then, he has perfected a technique that, like UT’s artificial lungs,
includes the creation of a skeleton of the bladder.
However, many internal organs have yet to be grown in the laboratory, not to mention placing them in a patient; even the bioengineering of most tissues, such as muscles and ligaments, is still
is at an early stage of research.
Relying on success in growing organisms, Kamen compares the scale of their production with how Silicon Valley turned the discovery of semiconductors into a smartphone industry. “I thought,
why don’t we do the same for living tissue, ”he says. “There must be a way to get a lot of them, of high quality, and at a real price to a society that urgently needs organs.”
Kamen knows that there are doubters. Throughout his career, he paid little attention to them. “Will it take 50 years? Definitely not, ”he says. “Will it be 25? Five?”. He makes his bet
that replacing a defective organ or part of an organ within 10 years will be the same common practice as in many standard medical procedures.
Of course, he was just as optimistic 20 years ago with Segway. But since then he has learned a lot about the art of teamwork and how to inspire strong players who can promote him
concepts and bring them to life. In any case, Segway only intensified his itch to achieve seemingly impossible goals.
future of medicine