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Bioengineered Organs on Demand

In This Article

  • Twenty Americans die every day waiting for transplants
  • Mass General researcher Harald C. Ott may have developed a way to save lives and meet the demand for replacement organs and overcome organ rejection
  • In this video, the Wall Street Journal profiles Dr. Ott's bioengineered organs research and a patient in need for a transplant

Twenty Americans die every day waiting for transplants. The availability of suitable organs is a chronic problem. While organs are available for transplant, donor blood types and body sizes often don't match with the waiting patients.

Harald Ott, MD, thoracic surgeon at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and his team are developing bioengineered organs to the end organ failure epidemic. His lab is using recent stem cells advancements as building blocks to rebuild the heart or lungs for transplantation. The goal is to stop organ rejection, stop immunosuppression and alleviate the donor organ shortage.

Dr. Ott’s process uses a donor organ that is decellularized by washing off the cells, which provides a scaffold. A recipient's stem cells are grown into the kind of cells that make the organ compatible with the patient. Finally, these cells are added to the donor organ, which is hooked up to a bioreactor to stimulate the organ into pumping.

Progress has been made but more research is still needed for clinical application.

Read more on The Wall Street Journal.

Learn more about Dr. Ott's Research

Explore research in the Division of Thoracic Surgery


VAD technology is continually improving. Mass General data indicates new VADs improve 5-year survival rates. Trials for the latest generation are under way.


One-third of heart failure patients do not respond to cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) | A coordinated care approach at Mass General for heart failure patients improves outcomes.