Growing Body Parts In the Laboratory

RedOrbit looks at tissue engineering: "Other alternatives to organ transplants have proved elusive. Transplants from animals, for example, face serious risks of rejection or viral infections. And mechanical organs, such as heart pumps, have been only a temporary solution. ... If we want to live forever, we need to do better ... Engineering body parts - tissues and whole organs that are genetically compatible and available on demand - sounds like science fiction. But researchers at medical centers around the world are working to make it a reality. Already, a handful of children with spina bifida have received new bladders. Replacement blood vessels are being tested on dialysis patients. And researchers have re-created a beating rat heart. ... [The] first wave of tissue engineering did yield some useful products, such as artificial skin grafts that are used to treat diabetic skin ulcers. But many of the awe-inspiring breakthroughs that scientists are talking about are still many years away ... The real potential for tissue engineering is the vital organs, but we're a ways away from that, even though there's some exciting things being done." The article looks at some of the more recent advances in engineering blood vessels, building complete hearts using a novel scaffold method, and of work on tissue engineered bladders.



Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.