This medical video focuses on how artificial organs could save people's lives.
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Jennifer Matthews: Kelly has been waiting more than two years for a lung transplant. Kevin was paralyzed wrestling with his brother. Chris lost his leg in a car accident. What do they have in common? Science could change their lives. Michael Lysaght has been developing artificial organs for more than 30 years. He's seen advances like artificial heart valves and joints go from rare to routine. Dr. Michael Lysaght: Overall organ replacement technology now benefits 25 million patients on a worldwide basis. Jennifer Matthews: We already have artificial hearts, ears, kidneys, vertebrae, hips and skin. Being developed are eyes, voice boxes and livers. Lysaght's group is also working to develop a bioartificial pancreas. Dr. Michael Lysaght: What you're going to see is the introduction of biological function into artificial organs where artificial kidneys will have kidney cells, artificial hearts will have living cardiac cells. Kelly Conlin: I've had actually dreams that I get the phone call and getting all ready to go to the hospital, so I just want it done and over with at this point. Jennifer Matthews: Kelly is first on the waiting list for new lungs. If researchers at the university of pittsburgh are successful, others like kelly won't have to wait. This device will do the work the lungs can't. Dr. Michael Lysaght: I think that, yeah, it's going to be replaceable you in the future and I don't think any part of it is really sacrosanct. Jennifer Matthews: You will see vision for the blind, you will see neuroprosthetics, and just like you can substitute for kidney function, you will be able to substitute the function of the brain. John Chapin is already working on technology that would allow a paralyzed person to move. Dr. John Chapin: And the person would think about moving his arm to pick up this glass of water on the shelf and the thought would be actually executing it. Jennifer Matthews: Today he tracks brain activity in rats with electrodes held in place with dental cement. Eventually, as the rat's arm moves so does the robot arm. Ultimately, the rat moves the robot arm through thought alone. Dr. John Chapin: You can hold it in your mind that it's feasible to do something like this, but when it actually happens, when you see it actually working, it still amazes you. Jennifer Matthews: This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.