There is currently a shortage of available transplantable organs. Roughly 1 million organs are needed worldwide and in 2012, only 114,690 transplants were performed. Due to the lack of available organs for transplant, patients get caught in a “catch-22.” In order to place high enough on the organ waiting list, they must be one of the sickest patients, yet well enough to survive the transplant surgery. With immunological suppression, the median organ transplant survival rate is approximately nine years. While this survival period is often characterized by improved function and quality of life, chronic rejection eventually sets in for almost all patients, resulting in deteriorating health. These patients would potentially have better outcomes if they received transplants at an earlier stage in their disease.
The winning team will demonstrate the successful function of a bioengineered human tissue and/or human organ (heart, lung, liver or kidney). These demonstrations will be showcased in a bioreactor ($1 – $2 million purse for demonstrating a tissue or $10 million purse for demonstrating an organ) or via one or two successful in-human organ transplants ($30 million purse, $20 million purse respectively).
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