Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Big News out of the ACC!

No credit is given in this short blurb, but I think this breakthrough is probably the work of the scientists at Wake Forest. Anthony Atala left Harvard's ivy halls to come to a new institute of regenerative medicine at Wake Forest. The word is that he's been able to make cell suspensions that form uteruses, vaginas, and large blood vessels. Atala's group has even constructed a fully functioning rabbit penis! Now they're working on solid organs.

We can grow you a new bladder. Can we conquer death?
By William SaletanUpdated Tuesday, April 4, 2006, at 9:15 AM ET
(For the latest Human Nature columns on birth control, polygamy, and old people, click here.)

Scientists have grown and implanted the first custom-made human organs. They made bladders and put them in patients who donated the source tissue. Recipe: Take a tiny tissue sample from each patient, grow it in a dish, wrap it around a scaffold to shape it, grow it for seven weeks in an incubator, then put it in the patient, where the new bladder keeps growing. The bladders have been functioning in seven patients for about four years. Next, scientists plan to grow kidneys, livers, and hearts. Interpretations: 1) Tissue engineering has arrived. 2) We did it without embryonic stem cells. 3) Death, RIP. (For Human Nature's take on growing organs from embryos, click here.)
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