Interviewing a Tissue Engineer

Numerous research groups around the world are working to build organs from a patient's own cells. Here is one that is illustrative of many: "Researchers at one of the country's leading tissue engineering laboratories are crafting tomorrow's medicine so doctors can replace worn-out body parts with lab-grown organs. Dr. Francois Auger and his team are growing human skin - it's their specialty. They have several other body parts under construction including blood vessels, corneas, ligaments, lungs and bladders. 'This is the medicine of the 21st century,' Auger said in an interview at his brand new laboratory next to the Enfant-Jesus hospital in Quebec City. ... Although this sounds like science fiction, Auger asserts in a few decades, it will be a reality to repair organs or to reconstruct new ones on demand. 'In 50 to 100 years from now, it won't be science fiction. We'll be able to regrow a hand. It's going to be very demanding, very expensive and maybe take a few weeks. But wow, think about it.' In the nearer future, in 20 to 30 years, he believes tissue engineers will be able to regrow a breast for women suffering from breast cancer." Techniques such as recellularization may lead to much more rapid progress than this projected timeline.


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