Matthew Putman
CEO, Nanotronics Imaging

The Regeneration of Organs Can Soon Be Commonplace

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Science can give patients regenerated organs in the next five years or so. Matthew Putman, Founder and CEO of Nanotronics Imaging, on the political will needed to make this a reality.

Matthew Putman

Matthew Putman is the Chief Executive Officer of Nanotronics. He has a Ph.D. in Applied Physics. He is now a Professor and Researcher at Columbia University. He was an owner and Vice President of Development for Tech Pro, Inc., which was acquired by Roper Industries in March of 2008. During his time at Tech Pro, Matthew lead two acquisitions, and the transformation of the instrument manufacturer into new global markets, having formed partnerships or subsidiaries in 15 nations. Matthew holds 5 patents, and has published over 20 technical papers, and in 2002 he won the ACS Best Paper Award. In addition to Columbia, Matthew has lectured at The University of Paris, USC, University of Michigan, and The Technical University of Sao Paulo.

Matthew has also produced several plays and films, and is an accomplished composer. He is a founding member of the World Science Festival. He is on the Executive Board of the Montauk Observatory, and is an Artist in Residence for Imagine Science Films.


Matthew Putman: What Nanotronics does, we work with a lab that regenerates the esophagus.  This is kind of interesting because this was by chance, but I had esophageal cancer.  I was lucky enough and had good enough oncologists and scientists working on my case that I recovered from it, but it's incredibly deadly form of cancer.  With regenerative medicine you're able to actually take out part of the esophagus and replace it with a bio scaffold and seed that with stem cells so that it can regrow a new scaffold.  This has been known for a long time, it's even been tried, but without the ability to do know the exact pore size and the density of how those cells will react to each other, so in other words to have nanoscale resolution it's only an idea, it's only a theoretical idea.  Now this is something that's a reality.  This should be also applicable to any regenerative processes like this.

Full complicated organs are already being recreated.  What makes it into the mainstream is a matter of regulation, it's a matter of politics, it's a matter of things that are outside of science.  But we do hope that enabling it in many labs for a point that everybody can try it out will help this adoption happen quicker.  So five years is absolutely a technological reality.  We'll see if it's a political reality.

There are of course political hurdles in doing anything in medicine, but that is also kind of an excuse for us when we don't accomplish things as fast as we would like to.  They are real but I think the biggest hurdle in nanotechnology and regenerative medicine specifically is that the public doesn't know about it so it's not on the radar of most people so they're not excited about it.  They don't push for it.  They don't spend money on it.  They don't lobby for it.  They don't realize that their lives or their parent's lives and their children's lives can be saved by it.  It's always amazing to me the types of technology that get attention while others that are truly world changing don't get any attention at all. Regenerative medicine is a good example of that.

Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton.