Bioengineering organs for human transplantation could be the key to eliminating transplant waiting lists forever. A process called perfusion decellularization is capable of removing all genetic material from an organ, while leaving the extra-cellular matrix (ECM) completely intact. This is accomplished by flushing a mild detergent through the blood vessels of organs extracted from animals (and humans). Since almost all cellular material is located within 100 micrometers of a capillary, this perfusion process is able to remove the genetic material while causing minimal or zero damage to the biological scaffold of the organ.
A previous method of “whitewashing” organs, called infusion decellularization, tried to accomplish the same removal of cellular material by immersing the organ in a detergent solution – but this process almost always caused damage to the architecture of the organs. Miromatrix Medical has announced that it “is advancing towards manufacturing fully biologic human organs for transplantation” using their proprietary perfusion decellularization process to create “a pristine and functional scaffold containing relevant protein markers upon which to seed human cells to create a liver and kidney, as well as other solid organs and organ components, including the heart.”