For The First Time In History Scientists Complete Successful Transplantation Of Lab-Grown Lungs

You will be surprised to know that a one person can donate eight life-saving organs, as well as tissue and corneas that can drastically improve the lives of another 75 people. But in reality most people do not donate their Organs. In the United States alone, 21 people die everyday waiting for an organ transplant and in New York, there are more than 10,000 people currently waiting for organ transplants.

To put an end on the shortage of organs for patience, Scientist starts developing important organs in labs. A group of researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch have spent years finding ways to make lab-grown lungs from scratch in the laboratory, using donated cells.

For first time in history on Wednesday August 1 Researchers from the University of Texas successfully grown the lungs in a laboratory and transplanted into pigs, allowing them to breathe normally with no medical complications.

Joan Nichols, associate director of the Galveston National Laboratory at University of Texas Medical Branch said “This is the first time someone has transplanted a whole bioengineered organ. We also demonstrate amazing tissue growth and development of the vascular system. There was no infection, no rejection of tissues, and animals tolerated the bioengineered lung transplant very well.”

According a reported published in Science Translational Medicine, in order to make bioengineered lungs the team first built these lab-grown lungs from the scaffolding of a donated organ. The donated lung was from an unrelated pig. It was then cleaned with a mixture of sugar and detergent to eliminate all the blood and cells.

After then as the cell source start to produce a bioengineered tissue the researchers removed a single lung from the pig. The team then bioengineered this structure by placing the scaffolding in a tank filled with nutrients, with the recipient animal’s own cells added to the mixture. It was treated with growth factor-filled hydrogels and nanoparticles to prepare the scaffold for the addition of cells. The lungs were grown in a tank for 30 days and then transplanted.

Researchers then studied the animals at different times after the transplant. There were no signs of rejection, lab-grown lungs were successfully providing oxygen to their blood, and were correctly growing the network of tiny blood vessels in the organ tissue.

After two week, the lab-grown lungs successfully integrated itself into the blood system and was colonized by the bacteria that make up the natural biome of the lung. The pigs had normal oxygen levels. Total six bioengineered lungs were created. The team is currently planning its next stage of investigations to confirm that this approach is safe in the long term.

“The next step is a long-term survival study where 10-15 pigs are given one bioengineered lung using this procedure and then they are sent back to the farm for a year.” Dr Nichols stated. “After 6 months to a year, we can bring the animals back, anesthetize them and block off their normal lung, forcing them to breathe and oxygenate using only the bioengineered lung.”

This mind blowing achievement has opens up the possibility of using similarly lab-grown lungs for humans in need of a lung transplant. However Researchers said these kinds of transplants in humans is still a long way away.

If you want to read there work in detail you can read it from there paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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