Human Lab-Grown Organ Success

Date 2006/4/4 15:00:56 | Topic: Health & Medicine

The first human recipients of laboratory-grown organs were reported by Anthony Atala, M.D., director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. In The Lancet, Atala describes long-term success in children and teenagers.

The engineered bladders were grown from the patients’ own cells, so there is no risk of rejection. Scientists hope that laboratory-grown organs can one day help solve the shortage of donated organs available for transplantation. Atala reported that the bladders showed improved function over time – with some patients being followed for more than seven years.

To create the new bladders, the researchers took a biopsy from patients whose bladders functioned poorly due to an inherited nervous system disorder. The team then placed muscle cells and cells from the bladder lining on a biodegradable bladder-shaped scaffold and allowed them to grow for about two months.

The scaffolds were made of the structural protein collagen, in some cases adding polyglycolic acid, a polymer used in surgical sutures. The scaffold was designed to degrade as the bladder tissue integrated with the body. Testing showed that the engineered bladders functioned as well as bladders that are repaired with intestine tissue, but with none of the ill effects.

“We have shown that regenerative medicine techniques can be used to generate functional bladders that are durable,” said Atala. “This suggests that regenerative medicine may one day be a solution to the shortage of donor organs in this country for those needing transplants.”


See the Wake Forest press release or the Bio-engineered bladders successful in patients article at New Scientist.



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