Indiana University School of Medicine scientist and transplant surgeon Burcin Ekser, MD, PhD, will boost his lab’s xenotransplantation, or cross-species transplantation, research program with a four-year, $9 million research agreement with Lung Biotechnology PBC.

Smith, Ekser and Li
IU School of Medicine researchers Lester Smith, PhD; Burcin Ekser, MD, PhD; and Ping Li, PhD. (Photo courtesy of IU School of Medicine)

According to the latest data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, there are more than 110,000 people in the United States waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, and each day, about 20 people die while waiting for a transplant.

Dr. Ekser and his team are working to improve the availability of organs by creating new organ models using the Indiana CTSI-designated 3D Bioprinting Core, located at the IU School of Medicine and IUPUI in Indianapolis. The researchers are printing 3D pig liver tissue from genetically engineered pig liver cells. Then, they use this 3D-printed tissue to develop new research models for xenotransplantation.

Lung Biotechnology PBC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Therapeutics Corporation. Lung Biotechnology is a Maryland-based company focused on organ transplantation technologies, including through xenotransplantation.

The 3D Bioprinting Core is led by founding director Nicanor Moldovan, PhD, and core manager Lester Smith, PhD. The 3D printer is one of only two of its kind at academic institutions in the United States.

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