Maryland based United Therapeutics is leading a medical revolution

09/20/2023| Jim Meyer

Maryland based United Therapeutics is leading a medical revolution

09/20/2023 | Jim Meyer

Imagine a world where unhealthy organs are replaced with transplants constructed with a 3D printer using the patient’s own cells. No more agonizing waits and desperate searches for a suitable donor organ, and, because the printed organs use cells from the patients themselves, no more fear of organ rejection. It might sound like science fiction set in the far off future, but thanks to the pioneering work of United Therapeutics , it may become a reality a lot sooner than you think, and it’s happening here in Maryland.

Co-headquartered in Silver Spring, United Therapeutics was founded in 1996 by Dr. Martine Rothblatt, a mom who wanted to save her 7 year-old daughter Jenesis who’d been diagnosed with a rare and serious disease called pulmonary arterial hypertension. Twenty seven years later, Jenesis has defied the odds and works at the company her mother founded to save her life.

Today, around 13,000 patients around the world are benefitting from United Therapeutics’ therapies, but it was in January of 2022 that the company made global headlines when physicians at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and University of Maryland Medical Center performed the first pig-to-human heart transplant using organs from a genetically modified pig from Revivicor, Inc., a United Therapeutics company. Of course, that earth shattering milestone was another amazing step for the trailblazing Maryland company.

Later in 2022, United Therapeutics and its partners again made history when they built a human lung scaffold, the basic structure of the lung, using one of the world’s most advanced 3D printers.

“We are regularly printing lung scaffolds as accurately as driving across the United States and not deviating from a course by more than the width of a human hair,” said Dr. Rothblatt, Chairperson and CEO.

These scaffolds, as remarkable as they are, are only the beginning. The next step will be to cellularize the scaffold using the patient’s own cells, leading the way to 3D printing tolerable, transplantable human organs.

“With the continued hard work of dedicated scientists and engineers,” Dr. Rothblatt added, “we hope to have these personalized, manufactured lungs cleared for human trials in under five years.”

With 200 million alveoli, and nearly 2,500 miles of pulmonary capillaries, and a staggering 44 trillion voxels – essentially 3D pixels – United Therapeutics’ lung scaffolds are the most complex 3D printed objects ever made. Other types of organ scaffolds are also in development. But the science and engineering are only part of the way they’re doing good. As the first publicly traded biotech Public Benefit Corporation (PBC), United Therapeutics is about more than just the bottom line.

With the express mission to provide brighter futures for its patients all while using Earth-sensitive energy sources as seen in their headquarters in the stunning Unisphere, the largest net-zero, site-powered building in the U.S. , it’s no wonder United Therapeutics is also an amazing place to work. The company has been named to Fortune’s “Great Places to Work” five times and Newsweek’s “America’s Most Responsible Companies” twice.

With its groundbreaking work and industry leading workplace, calling United Therapeutics a game changer would be an understatement. United Therapeutics isn’t just changing the game, they’re changing the world, and like so many pioneers, they’re doing it in Maryland.

United Therapeutics is partner with the Maryland Marketing Partnership. Find out more about the MMP here .

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