Bioengineering Priorities on a Path to Ending Organ Shortage

Joshua Hunsberger, Josh Neubert, Jason A. Wertheim, Julie Allickson, Anthony Atala

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This perspective article covers current successes in and continuing challenges remaining in eliminating the growing organ shortage. We specifically cover data from a workshop entitled “Organ Bioengineering and Banking Roadmap Workshop” funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Methuselah Foundation in Washington, D.C. on May 27, 2015, and a subsequent Roundtable held at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on May 28, 2015. We address four parallel and potentially cooperative approaches for bioengineering tissues and organs. The first approach is bioprinting of tissues and organs. The second approach encompasses recellularization strategies, which can involve either developing tissue scaffolds from non-transplantable human (or xenogenic) organs or tissues and then reconstituting these templates with human cells to create a functional tissue/organ or seeding synthetic biodegradable scaffolds with human cells. The third approach is optimization of cellular repair and regeneration with strategies that include shifting the balance away from maladaptive processes that lead to chronic scarring. The fourth approach is xenotransplantation, which involves developing functional tissues for human use in transgenic animals whose cells are modified to prevent immune rejection. Current challenges and limitations are addressed, which include mapping, cell sourcing and manufacturing, immunosuppression, integration, and vascularization. We identify commercialization strategies that will make these approaches economically feasible. We present solutions toward a vision to one day ending the current organ and tissue shortage, and the impact this will have on treating disease and providing indirect economic benefit by decreasing the disease burden on society and improving quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-127
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Stem Cell Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D printing
  • Bioengineering
  • Cell manufacturing and sourcing
  • Decellularization
  • Integration
  • Mapping
  • Organ shortage
  • Organs
  • Regeneration
  • Tissue
  • Vascularization
  • Xenotransplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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