Organ Regeneration

Today, upwards of 100,000 people are waiting for organ transplants in America alone; every day 18 of them die. Not only are healthy organs in short supply, however, donor and patient must be matched closely, or else the immune system of the patient could reject the transplant.

A new solution is incubating in medical labs: “bioartificial” organs grown from the patient’s own cells. Thirty people have already received lab-grown bladders, and other engineered organs in the pipeline.

The bladder technique was developed by Anthony Atala from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Healthy cells are taken from a patient’s diseased bladder, causing them to multiply profusely in petri dishes, and then they are applied to a balloon-shaped scaffold partly constructed of collagen, the protein found in cartilage.

Solid organs with lots of blood vessels, like livers and kidneys are more difficult to grow than hollow ones such as bladders. But Atala’s group, which is working on 22 tissues and organs, including ears, created a functioning piece of human liver, recently.

Other labs are also hurrying to make bio-artificial organs. A jawbone at Columbia University, a lung at Yale. At the University of Minnesota, Doris Taylor has created a beating rat heart, growing cells from one rat on a scaffold she made from the heart of another simply by washing off its cells.

Growing a carbon of patient’s organ, however, is not always possible. For example, when the original has been too damaged by cancer. One solution for these kinds of patients might be a stem cell bank. Atala’s team has shown that stem cells can be collected without having to harm human embryos. The researchers wheedled those cells into becoming liver, heart, and other organ cells.

One Reply to “Organ Regeneration”

  1. Organ regeneration must be option and we all know that Regenerative Medicine Brought to Life

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