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

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> 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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