HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — Penn State College of Medicine is one step closer to developing an implantable artificial heart that operates wirelessly and reliably for 10 years after receiving more than $3 million from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

“An estimated 10,000 people could benefit from a total artificial heart or donor heart each year, and only about 2,000 donor organs become available annually,” said Gerson Rosenberg, C. McCollister Evarts, MD, Professor in Artificial Organs, and professor of surgery and biomedical engineering. “Mechanical devices could be beneficial for people who are not candidates for transplant due to their age or other health conditions like high resistance to blood flow in the lungs.”

Get daily news, weather, breaking news, and sports alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here. 

The device could be a potential solution to the lack of available hearts for people with heart failure who need transplants. According to the press release, one advantage of their proposed design is that it will also conform to the anatomy of smaller patients.

This project is a major undertaking and is years in the making, but at Penn State, we have the right experts and facilities to make it possible,” Rosenberg said. “If we’re successful, this total artificial heart could provide an alternative option to patients in need of a transplant.”

To learn more about the ongoing project, click here.