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posted by mrpg on Friday August 03 2018, @02:02AM   Printer-friendly
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: 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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