THE CHALLENGES

The chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD:

Affects 15 million in the USA, and 400 million worldwide, causing the death of 140000 in the USA and 3 Million worldwide. In most years it is the third leading cause of death worldwide. Typically affecting individuals >40. It is caused by smoking; air pollution; inhaling dust, fumes, chemicals, and rarely by the lack of a specific protein. Airways and air sacs in the lung lose their elastic quality and the walls between many of the air sacs are destroyed. Airways become thick, inflamed, and clogged. Treatment can help, but the disease can’t be cured and damage to the lungs can’t be reversed, in fact, it progressively worsens.

The chronic non-healing wound:

This “epidemic” was estimated in 2016 to affect 6.7 million patients. One-third of attended wound patients suffer from non-healing wounds resulting in amputation or death. up to 55% require amputation of the second leg within 2‐3 years. The average cost for each amputation is over $70,000. Nearly half of the amputees, due to vascular disease, die within 5 years. A rate higher than for breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer combined. The cost for treatment ranges from $ 3.5K to $ 40K/year in non-healing wounds. The general cost of wound care currently exceeds $ 50 billion/year in the USA.

Control over blood vessel formation:

This is crucial for the cure of many persistent disease types such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and ocular disease. In the case of cancer that control could provide the opportunity of curing most types of cancers. Furthermore, the establishment of stable blood vessels is quintessential for the prospects of engineering thick and viable artificially engineered tissues and organs for future human transplantations.