EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — New research reveals thousands of donated kidneys are thrown away or left unused each year, many of which could be used to save lives.

Currently nearly 100,000 Americans desperately need organs on the transplant waiting list. Experts say 12 people die every day waiting for a kidney transplant. So, why waste the organs?

Researchers say doctors don’t want to risk using lower-quality kidneys even though they may be better than keeping a patient on dialysis.

Right now a Minnesota company is working to develop a kidney transplant alternative. It’s a one-of-a-kind solution to end the transplant waiting list as we know it. Using a breakthrough process developed at the University of Minnesota, Eden Prairie-based Miromatrix Medical Incorporated is creating transplantable human organs out of pig organs.

Dr. Jeff Ross, Miromatrix CEO, said Minnesota researchers are leading the regenerative medicine race. “We’re creating human organs out of discarded pig organs. We take what nature designed, a fully functioning liver, kidney or heart and with our patented technology, which was developed at the University of Minnesota, we remove all of the cells from the organ. What’s left is a ‘scaffold.'  All of the organ’s natural design and architecture remain. Then from the inside out, we seed or implant new, human cells back into it, ultimately creating a completely functional, transplantable organ that could save a life,” explained Dr. Ross.

“Scientists and bioengineers are making strides every day in the field of regenerative medicine, and it’s very exciting," said Dr. Ross. "At Miromatrix, we’re aiming for our first human clinical studies to happen in the next three years. Our mission is to dramatically reduce the number of patients on dialysis, as well as save millions of lives by eliminating the kidney transplant waiting list."

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