Steven Morris, CEO, president, board member, and founding partner of BIOLIFE4D, provides a thorough overview of the biological and technological advances that are revolutionizing modern healthcare. Morris’s company, BIOLIFE4D, is a trailblazing biotech company with a mission to utilize advanced life sciences and tissue engineering to 3D bioprint viable human hearts, using a patient’s own cells, that are suitable for transplant.
Morris has over 20 years of experience in precision machining and manufacturing, which includes 15 years as president of Inland Midwest Corporation (IMC) that specifically caters to the medical technologies industry. IMC completed a merger with MedTorque Inc. in 2015. In addition to his successes at IMC, Morris launched Creative Manufacturing Consulting Solutions (CMCS), a company focused in the areas of operational optimization, industry and regulatory compliance, as well as quality system optimization and development.
While at CMCS, Morris led over two years of in-depth research into the technology of 3D bioprinting and regenerative medicine. Combining his medical manufacturing experience with intensive research, and partnering with experts in the field, he created BIOLIFE4D with the goal of bioprinting usable human organs for human transplantation. As heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA and nearly all developed countries, the life-saving technology of BIOLIFE4D is clearly in great demand. Morris discusses the alarming statistical numbers that give credence to the serious state of heart disease globally, and as he explains there are several key issues his team at BIOLIFE4D seeks to tackle, such as increasing the supply because many people die annually simply from their inability to be granted a transplant. Additionally, Morris discusses the high rejection rate for human heart transplants and the many dangers patients face. For as patients up their intake of immunosuppressants in hopes their bodies will accept the new organs, they also increase their risks for developing a disease, etc.
The regenerative medicine expert delivers a detailed overview of the bioprinting process BIOLIFE4D uses. He explains the means in which they build their bioprinted organs layer by layer with essential cells. As the cell layers fuse the DNA informs the cells that they should function as heart cells and so the process begins toward the formation of a solid organ. He discusses the importance of vascularization to provide blood and nutrients to the organs, and how his company is leading the way to major releases coming soon, with a fully functional miniature heart for human drug trials possibly emerging as early as next year. Morris explains the compassionate exemption, which is a regulation that allows for those who are in immediate need for an organ, facing death without a transplant, to go forward with alternative options such as bioprinted organs.
Morris outlines the inherent problem of scarcity that exists in the organ donor world. For as the list of patients in need, waiting for an available organ, is long, the amount of available organs is scarce. He explains that many people who hope to get on lists to wait for an organ may be excluded due to other medical conditions or age, as the medical community makes assessments to give the available organs to the candidates with the highest chance for organ acceptance and recovery. Due to these stringent requirements, potentially millions are left with no options, but Morris is committed to change this disturbing reality and is pushing his company to bring a bioprinted human heart option to everyone in need. Morris hopes to deliver a fully functional human heart for transplant within the coming years, and hopefully within three to five years.