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Body parts we can now grow in a lab (photos)

Rebuilding the human body, one petri dish at a time.
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1 of 6 Audrey Quinn/ZDNet

Muscle

Wake Forest University researchers recently announced that they've successfully transplanted lab-grown muscle on the backs of injured mice. As we reported last week, here’s how they did it:

  • They harvest mouse muscle cells and duplicate them on strips of pig bladder (engineered to be mouse-compatible).
  • A computer-guided device expands and contracts the cells, “exercising” them.
  • The researchers implant the strips of muscle cells into mice who’d had half of their back muscle removed (yes, ouch).

The mice implanted with new muscle strips showed a three times improvement in strength over the mice whose injured muscles were left unaddressed. The implanted cells appeared to speed up healing and prompt the development of new muscle tissue.

Photo: Eindhoven University of Technology/Bart van Overbeeke

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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2 of 6 Audrey Quinn/ZDNet

Bladder

Wake Forest Researchers have also developed lab-grown bladders. They take cells from the diseased organs of people with bladder disease, and grow them on a bladder-shaped mold. Weeks later, they attach the mold to the patient's diseased bladder and it takes over function.

Photo: Nature.com

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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3 of 6 Audrey Quinn/ZDNet

Liver

German scientists use pig intestine as a scaffold, and seed it with human hepatocytes and endothelial cells. Together the cells appear to fulfill similar functions as a real liver in the lab, yet the set-up has yet to be tested in humans.

Photo: Fraunhofer/Dirk Mahler

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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4 of 6 Audrey Quinn/ZDNet

Voice box

Recently Russian surgeons completed the first successful laryngotracheal implants. As SmartPlanet reports, doctors built nanocomposite scaffolds outlining the shape of the needed implants. They then seeded the scaffolds with stem cells from the partients’ own bone marrow. Inside a shoebox-size bioreactor the scaffold was rotated as the stem cells took to it.

That stem cell seeding made it so the patients’s bodies accepted the implants without having to take immunosuppressive drugs.

Photo: Harvard Bioscience

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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5 of 6 Audrey Quinn/ZDNet

Veins

This June Swedish surgeons tranplanted the first vein grown from a patient's own stem cells into the body of a 10-year-old girl. They seeded a scaffold made from a cadaver's vein with stem cells from the girl's bone marrow. The new vein replaced a blocked blood pathway between her intestines and liver.                                

Porthoto: Simon Fraser/Freman Hospital, Newcastle/Science Photo Library

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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6 of 6 Audrey Quinn/ZDNet

The promise of bone marrow stem cells

Researchers from the University of Maryland and the University of Paris Descartes recently reported success in using mouse bone marrow tissue to grow parts of other organ including the pancreas, heart, and even the brain.

We reported:

“Finding stem cells capable of restoring function to different damaged organs would be the Holy Grail of tissue engineering,” lead author David Trisler of the University of Maryland School of Medicine says in a press statement.

The next step will be confirming that the technique is as effective in humans as it is in mice.

Bone marrow stem cell photo: Daniel E. Sabath/University of Washington

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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