The development of artificial organs
The pumping of your blood, digesting your food and breathing in a breath of fresh air: your organs live a busy life. It is therefore not so surprising that they sometimes suffer some damage or can no longer perform their function properly. Fortunately, in such cases we have sufficient medicines, excellent surgeons and an extensive donor system – but what if all that does not yield anything?
Science might have recently found the answer to this: the development of artificial organs. An artificial organ is made by humans and can (partially) take over the function of the real organ. In fact, this is about meticulous crafting according to Mother Nature’s building plan. This is developing very fast: in some labs they are currently developing an organ on a chip (!), while other researchers are trying to 3D print an organ or grow it from stem cells. In this way, science is getting closer and closer to imitating the body.
On this blog we would like to give you an idea of where research into artificial organs currently stands. What have scientists been able to achieve so far and how exactly do their discoveries work? In addition, we look ahead to the future and what might be possible in the world of artificial organs.
The first team member we want to introduce is Mirte. She is 24 years old and is studying Life Sciences. She also wants to become a chemistry teacher and she likes to explain scientific topics in such a way that it is understandable for everyone. Her main interest is researching viruses, but she also studies the development of medicines against infectious diseases. For this blog, she will tell you a little more about how artificial organs can help us learn more about viruses.
Our second team member is Merel. Although her own organs (until now) still work fine, she knows a lot about what can go wrong in the human body: she learned extensively about this during her study Biomedical Sciences. Merel finds it fascinating to see how researchers are increasingly able to follow the rules of the body and how this leads to impressive innovations, such as the development of artificial organs. She is therefore happy to take you along with the latest developments within this subject.
Third, we introduce Debbie. She is 22 years old and after obtaining her propaedeutic certificate in medical information science, she studied mathematics in Amsterdam. She is currently doing the master Science Education and Communication: Teacher Track. With this master she wants to share her interest in science with others. In this blog she will therefore take you into the world of artificial organs and look at whether this is all so good. Or are there also less positive sides to this development?
Our fourth and final team member is Tara. She is 23 years old, lives in Utrecht and likes to be outside a lot by walking, (racing) cycling and sitting in the sun (if there is one). During her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences, she found out that she would like to share her knowledge with the people around her, which is why she chose the master in science communication. She has been registered as an organ donor since she was 18, so is very curious if artificial organs can replace human donor organs in the future!
Translated from Dutch