Building Organs From Scratch


They’re getting really close now, this is exciting stuff.

Growing lungs in a lab: researchers move closer to goal

Now two research groups have made major strides in attacking the problem. One has successfully engineered a lung that can sustain a living rat and the other has created a lung-mimicking device for toxicology studies that acts more like a real lung than any earlier efforts, the groups reported Thursday in the journal Science.

One report brings closer the day when artificial lungs might be grown for human transplants; the other offers a method for testing the effects of toxic chemicals on lungs that is cheaper and more humane than animal tests and more reliable than ones done in test tubes, scientists said.

In work colleagues described as daring, a team led by Dr. Laura Niklason at Yale University grew rat lungs almost from scratch.

Because lungs are so complicated, the group used a scaffold-based approach — they took lungs from adult rats and dissolved away all the cells, leaving behind a fibrous lung “skeleton.”

They seeded these scaffolds with lung cells from newborn rats and — through careful coaxing that included incubation in a “lung bioreactor” that mimicked the fetal lung environment — produced what appeared to be functional lungs.

They then implanted the lungs into four live rats and showed that the engineered lungs were 95% as efficient as natural ones.

The same methodology had been used to successfully create beating rat and pig hearts in 2008 — although in those cases, the organs were never transplanted into living animals.

“It’s exciting to see that it’s not just about [the] heart; it works in other organs and tissues too,” said Doris Taylor of the University of Minnesota, who conducted the pioneering heart work. “It really reinforces the belief that these scaffolds are smart. They know how to tell cells what to do, where to go and how to behave.”

There are still kinks in the process: A few hours after rats received the lungs, tiny blood clots began to form, probably because of bare spots on the scaffold. “It’s pointed out to us what worked, but it’s also pointed out to us what needs to be made better,” Niklason said.

See also:
Breakthrough: Lab Lungs Live and Breathe
Mouse Lungs Grown From Stem Cells At U Of M
Scientists Build a Rat Lung
Breathing lungs, straight from the lab
N.E. researchers create functioning lung tissue
UTMB grows lungs from ‘skeletons’
Engineered Mouse Lungs Function Well in Laboratory Study
Scientists make progress in growing new human lungs
Building Living, Breathing Lungs In The Lab
Breakthrough In Lung Transplant Biomedicine
Lung-on-a-chip points to alternative to animal tests
A Chip Takes Its First Breath

/as Glenn Reynolds would say, faster please

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