Human lungs successfully grown in a lab for the first time
Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston have succeeded in growing human lungs in the laboratory, using components from the lungs of deceased children.
Taking lungs from two children who had died from trauma (most likely a car accident), the researchers stripped one of the lungs down to a bare "skeleton" of just collagen and elastin - the main proteins in connective tissue.
Using this stripped-down lung as a "scaffold," they then harvested cells from the other lung, which were applied to the scaffolding.
This lung structure was then placed in a chamber filled with a nutritious liquid, which was described as "resembling Kool-Aid."
After 4 weeks of immersion, the team extracted a complete human lung from the liquid - "just pinker, softer and less dense." The team then successfully replicated the process using a second set of lungs.
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