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Lab Grown Lungs Implanted in Rats

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Lab Grown Lungs Implanted in Rats

Lab grown lung implanted in rats work at 95 percent efficiency of normal lungs…

Scientists have successfully grown and implanted rat lungs that allowed the rodents to breathe for brief periods of time. The new lungs, which mark the first time an animal has drawn a breath using lab grown organs, demonstrate that regenerative medicine could be an effective alternative to the clinical transplantation of lungs.

Currently the only the only treatment for the lung diseases is to transplant a new organ. Unfortunately the procedure comes with extremely high risks and the short list of donors means that many do not receive a transplant in time. Even when they do, only 10% to 20% of patients who undergo lung transplants survive for 10 years, compared to the 50% of patients’ who survive after undergoing a heart transplant.

Bioengineer and vascular biologist Laura Niklason of Yale University and her colleagues developed the new lung using a technique known as decellularization. Rat liver post

Decellularization involves treating adult rat lungs with a detergent that dissolves the cellular components. This leaves behind a skeleton of the lung, the extracellular matrix the lung is built upon. Researchers then inject epithelial and endothelial cells from rat lungs into the skeleton, which eventually grew over the matrix to create new lungs.

Nikalson and her team implanted the lungs in the rats for up to two hours and found that the organs could participate in gas exchange. Although the lung did not inflate fully, data revealed that they were taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide at 95% of normal efficiency.

Unfortunately the researchers did see the formation of blood clots in the vasculature of the lungs, as well as the leakage of blood into the airways. Niklason said:

Clearly were close, but not all the way there yet. We really view this work as laying a scientific and technological basis for regenerating lungs in the long term.

The team say the breakthrough brings them one step closer to the goal the aim of regenerating lungs from a patients’ own cells to grow an implantable organ – a project that Niklason says may still be a couple of decades away from completion.

The study was published in the June 24th edition of Science Express.


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