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posted by mrpg on Friday August 03 2018, @02:02AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the fresh-hope dept.

Submitted via IRC for AndyTheAbsurd

In the US alone, more than 1,400 people are waiting for a lung transplant - there simply aren't enough donor lungs available to meet the need. Soon, though, patients might have a new source for brand new lungs: the lab.

[...] To grow the lungs, the researchers first created four lung scaffolds. To do this, they removed all of the cells and blood from pig lungs using a mix of sugar and detergent. This left them with just the proteins of each lung - essentially, its skeleton.

Next, they placed each scaffold in a tank containing a special mix of nutrients. They then added cells from recipient pigs' own lungs to each of the scaffolds and let the lungs grow for 30 days. Finally, they transplanted the four lab-grown lungs into the four recipient pigs.

Within two weeks, the transplanted lungs had already begun to establish the robust networks of blood vessels they need to survive.

Source: Bioengineered Lungs Grown in a Lab Successfully Transplanted Into Living Pigs


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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03 2018, @03:24AM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03 2018, @03:24AM (#716539)

    n/t

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 03 2018, @04:17AM (7 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday August 03 2018, @04:17AM (#716551) Journal

      Honestly, this seems a lot harder to get right than an artificial womb. Lab-grown organs for transplant are just a much bigger research priority, and the one thing everybody can come up with when they think of bioengineering.

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      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03 2018, @03:56PM (6 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03 2018, @03:56PM (#716767)

        Yeah, I guess given that IANAMD, I really have no idea the relative complexity of various organs. All that I really know is that feminism has assured me that the womb is the most complex body part evar, involving mystical, fourth dimensional metaphysical... stuff.

        And truth be told, we need lungs, hearts, livers, and kidneys a lot more. Imagine if we could grow new bone marrow [nature.com]. There are wonders ahead. Well, provided they're ever available to the masses and not just those Elysium people and the folks that live on top of that big building in Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

        • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Friday August 03 2018, @05:06PM (4 children)

          by HiThere (866) on Friday August 03 2018, @05:06PM (#716801) Journal

          It's not the most complicated, but it's far from the simplest. Lungs are complex, but reasonably uniform, and they're using a pre-built scaffold, which handles a lot of the complexity. So they're probably a lot simpler.

          That said, I'm not sure how the handled the muscle attachments...were they created with the lungs, or did they depend on the pig supplying those? The summary wasn't clear, but I'd guess that the muscles were supplied by the pig. This wouldn't work at all for a uterus.

          When they can make artificial kidneys and eyes, then the uterus may be plausible. Maybe. But both of those can be created dependent on external muscle attachments. An artificially grown heart might be a better waypoint. That has the same kind of internal muscular structure (well, it's a different kind of muscle, but...) and it's sensitive to external control by nerves, and it's sensitive to endocrine hormones. And it's simpler than the uterus. But it's just a little bit critical. (Well, lungs aren't?)

          The thing is, growing muscles is very different than growing most structures, because they need to be exercised while growing. There's bound to be some way to handle this (stimulated iso-metric exercises?) but I haven't read a report of anyone doing this yet. (Talk to the people building artificial steaks. They've got to deal with this problem.)

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          • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 03 2018, @07:22PM (3 children)

            by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday August 03 2018, @07:22PM (#716911) Journal

            artificial womb (aka uterus) != lab-grown uterus

            The first is a machine that contains and grows a fetus. It does not have to be biological in nature.

            It might look something like this [soylentnews.org] (images are included in the open access paper [nature.com]).

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            • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Friday August 03 2018, @07:37PM (2 children)

              by HiThere (866) on Friday August 03 2018, @07:37PM (#716925) Journal

              While your objection has validity, it's not exactly related to the article being commented upon.

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              • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 03 2018, @10:46PM (1 child)

                by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday August 03 2018, @10:46PM (#717011) Journal

                It's what this thread is 'bout, and it was in your comment.

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                • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Saturday August 04 2018, @01:19AM

                  by HiThere (866) on Saturday August 04 2018, @01:19AM (#717050) Journal

                  As I understood the thread it was about artificial organs grown from cells and implanted in the body, with a side note about immune system rejection of foreign cells. An external device wouldn't fit.

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        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 03 2018, @07:18PM

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday August 03 2018, @07:18PM (#716908) Journal

          For the artificial womb, you need a liquid environment and the ability to exchange nutrients, hormones, etc. with the fetus. The actual "womb" can be a relatively simple machine. Maybe handling of the umbilical cord is the hardest part?

          For a lab-grown organ, you are using the patient's own cells or DNA to start production. You will presumably grow an entire organ outside of the body although there has been some work on growing these organs inside of pigs. One big problem is getting all of the blood vessels to grow within your scaffolding so that you can have a full, working organ instead of a tiny blob organlet. And at the end of the day, you will still need to perform surgery on the patient to integrate this new organ.

          BTW, Here's a fun, long article: http://bostonreview.net/gender-sexuality/merve-emre-all-reproduction-assisted [bostonreview.net]

          Obviously, artificial wombs will trigger a lot of butthurt, but their development can't be easily suppressed by feminists or evangelicals simply because they can be "a lifesaving device for premature babies". Devices that work for the full term will probably be created by the cattle industry. Some group of researchers out there will finish the job and create a full-blown artificial womb that relieves women of the burden of childbirth, while greatly reducing their reproductive bargaining power (which will eventually be reduced to near-zero once we have the ability to create designer embryos synthetically).

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03 2018, @11:15AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03 2018, @11:15AM (#716622)

    ... to lease the Millar Research Clinic...
    ... all physical experimental rights in my body...
    ... for one week for the sum of 100 pounds.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by requerdanos on Friday August 03 2018, @01:59PM

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 03 2018, @01:59PM (#716691) Journal

    In the US alone, more than 1,400 people are waiting for a lung transplant

    And some die while waiting. In fact, such deaths are considered by some to be a "mixed blessing" because they positively affect the ratio of donor lungs to patients on the waiting list. It's that bad that such a thing counts as partially positive.

    there simply aren't enough donor lungs available to meet the need

    The lungs exist; it's just that they are in use right now.

    [Dishwashing liquid, sugar, alchemy, grow tank, growth medium]... cells from recipient pigs' own lungs... and let the lungs grow for 30 days. Finally, they transplanted the four lab-grown lungs into the four recipient pigs.

    A very positive thing to note here. Someone receiving a "donor lung" from someone else will need to take anti-rejection drugs pretty much for the rest of his life. Someone receiving one of these lab-grown lungs will be receiving a mix of his own cells, some generic proteins, and some slimy growth medium, none of which is likely to be rejected, because the source is the patient's own body. Instead of the modern presidential "Alien tissue detected! Must attack and deport, make my body great again", the body is more likely to say the metabolic equivalent of "Hey! I recognize you! Where've you been? Welcome back. I'll grow you some blood vessels."

    If effective in humans, this changes the picture entirely.

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