In recent years, scientists and researchers have made remarkable breakthroughs in new drug therapies and treatment routines for a variety of diseases—many made possible because of people who donated their bodies to science.
Whole body donation programs in Florida contribute to these breakthroughs, as well as educate and train doctors and medical students. Here are some of the top ways whole body donation helps pave the way for the advancement of science.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Donated hearts allow researchers to:
- Examine heart tissue at the cellular level to help them understand the genetics involved in heart disease
- Better understand cardiomyopathies and congenital defects
- Gain greater insight into disease progression and test new devices like pacemakers, stents, and prosthetic valves
Every year, more than 1.9 million people are diagnosed with cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 47,410 Florida residents will die from breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, or 200 other forms of cancer in 2023. Nationwide, more than 600,000 deaths are attributed to cancer annually. Whole body donations help scientists:
- Study how tumors grow and spread through organs
- Test targeted therapies and drugs for outcomes before human trials
- Identify cellular and genetic markers for earlier identification of cancers
6.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, affecting about one out of every nine people over age 65. Research is helping to identify:
- Brain cells and chemistries that lead to disease progression
- Risk factors that lead to Alzheimer’s and dementia
- New drug combinations that help slow disease progression
Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, affecting more than one million people in the U.S. Donated bodies are used for:
- Examining brain cells and genetic markers for clues
- Pre-clinical testing of treatments and therapies
- Cellular analysis to understand disease progression and neuron death
The third global leading cause of death is chronic respiratory disease. Whole body donations aid in:
- Studying chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary fibrosis
- Better understanding of infections, such as pneumonia or flu
- Cellular analysis of lung tissues to research disease progression
The average person born today has a life expectancy of 76 years. As people live longer, joint replacements are becoming more common with donated bodies, research can:
- Test and refine implants and procedures
- Analyze biological responses to implants
- Test new biomaterials for joint replacements
Trauma is the leading cause of death for people under the age of 45. Each year, 24.2 million people are treated in emergency rooms for trauma and nearly a quarter of a million people die from vehicle accidents, falls, and other forms of trauma. Researchers can study donated bodies to:
- Understand injury patterns to inform prevention and treatment
- Test treatment techniques for various types of traumas
- Understand dynamics by reconstructing trauma scenarios
Medical Training and Education
Hands-on training using human tissue is crucial for surgeons, physicians, and medical students to gain competency.
Whole body donation programs in Florida help surgeons refine their skills and practice new procedures like robotic surgery. Complex procedures like organ transplants, neurosurgery, and tumor removal also require practice to avoid critical mistakes in the operating room.
Medical students gain an understanding of human anatomy that goes beyond textbooks and models. Donated tissue is the first hands-on experience they have with human bodies.
Whole Body Donation Programs in Florida
United Tissue Network (UTN) operates whole-body donation programs in Florida, connecting donors with research and medical institutions to help develop new therapies, better understand diseases, and train the next generation of physicians.
When you make a whole-body donation, UTN handles the logistics of storing and transporting your donation, including cremation. There is no cost to donors. After research is complete, remains are returned to loved ones, and families are provided with two copies of the death certificate, also at no cost. All whole-body donations are handled with the highest level of respect and dignity.
UTN is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). You can pre-register to become a whole-body donor or help your loved ones register as they near the end of life or after passing.
Call United Tissue Network today at 877-738-6111 to learn more about whole body donation in Florida.