"In a lab at Yale University, a rat inhales. Every breath this rodent takes is a sign of important medical advances looming on the horizon, for only one of its lungs comes from the pair it was born with. The other was built in a laboratory."
taken from :http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/06/24/lungs-rebuilt-in-lab-and-transplanted-into-rats/
I came across this article the other day and found it to be really interesting. This technique takes an existing lung, strips away all the cells and blood vessels to leave behind a scaffold of connective tissues, and re-grows the missing cells in a vat.
It’s the medical equivalent of stripping a house down to a frame of beams and struts and rebuilding the rest from scratch. The whole process only took a few days and when the reconstituted lung was transplanted into a rat, it worked.
This is important because the lungs are notoriously bad at regenerating and repairing themselves. If a person’s lungs are severely damaged, the only real solution is a lung transplant. But that’s easier said than done. The procedure is expensive, only 20% of patients at most are still alive ten years later, and the demand for donor lungs far exceeds their supply.
So this team of scientists would get a lung from a dead donor, or a primate, or even a swine, strip away all its outer skin, and re-grow it by using stem cell from the patient. THis could reduce the risk of rejection by the body.
The problem with this technique is that there were signs of minor bleeding in the airway during the experiment and they predicted that the technique could be fully prepared in 20 to 25 years. This means good news for lung disease patients~!
Well this also gives more reason for smokers today to refuse to quit smoking, because help is at hand! =.=