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BOB HIRSHON (Host):
Custom-made lungs. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Lab-grown lungs for human transplants are a step closer to reality. University of Texas Medical Branch researcher Joan Nichols and her colleagues had already grown and transplanted bioengineered rat lungs, which survived in the rats for hours. Now, in the journal Science Translational Medicine, she and her colleagues have moved on to much larger animals– pigs– and improved on the rat work.
JOAN NICHOLS (University of Texas Medical Branch):
Our survival time was a lot longer: we survived our animal, the longest one, out to two months. Without any problems, no complications, no issues with the animal.
They grow the lungs from a protein scaffold, infused with lung tissue cells and growth factors. But Nichols says they still need to show that the bioengineered lungs do their job of oxygenating blood and keep thriving in the body, before they can consider human trials. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.
Story by Bob Hirshon