Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch have been successful in developing human lungs in the lab, using components from the lungs of deceased children. Stem cell professionals have been working on developing lung tissue for some years, but the lung is a complicated organ, which provides more issues than regenerating other organ tissue, like as human skin.
The University of Texas Medical Branch 1st declared their solution for developing lungs in 2010.
In terms of various cell types, the lung is likely the most sophisticated of all organs – the cells close to the entry are very distinct from those deeply in the lung,” University of Texas Medical Branch specialist Dr. Joaquin Cortiella stated at that time.”
“Individuals ask us why we’re performing the lung, due to the fact it’s so difficult. But the prospective is so great, and the technology is here. It’s proceeding to take time, but I believe we’re going to create a system that works.”
“If we can develop a good lung for individuals, we can also develop a good model for injuries,” says investigator Dr. Joan Nichols, adding that:
“We can develop a fibrotic lung, or an emphysematous lung, and review what’s happening with those, what the cells are doing, how properly stem cell or other treatment works. We can see what occurs in pneumonia, or what occurs when you’ve got a hemorrhagic fever, or tuberculosis, or hantavirus – all the agents that focus on the lung and lead to damage in the lung.”
The 2010 study involved destroying the cells of rat lungs by continuously freezing and thawing and then “reseeding” the lungs with embryonic stem cells from mice. Subsequent that work up with related but more large-scale studies on pig lungs, the scientists now used the same regenerative engineering principles to human lungs.
Human lungs expanded in a ‘fish tank’ utilizing cells from deceased children Getting lungs from two children who had died from trauma (most likely a car accident), the scientists removed one of the lungs down to a bare “skeleton” of just collagen and elastin – the primary proteins in connective tissue.
Utilizing this stripped-down lung as a “scaffold,” they then collected cells from the other lung, which were used to the scaffolding. This lung structure was then positioned in a chamber loaded with a nutritious liquid, which Nichols explains as “resembling Kool-Aid.”
Following 4 weeks of immersion, the team taken out a complete human lung from the liquid – “just pinker, softer and less dense.” The team then efficiently replicated the procedure using a second set of lungs. It is UTMB’s Dr. Michael Riddle who is acknowledged with speeding up the process for developing the lungs, and he did so by modifying new equipment out of the most daily of home furniture.
Can laboratory-developed lungs be used in transplants?
Lung transplants are usually the only treatment for incurable lung conditions such as cystic fibrosis and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But successful lung transplants are rare, as getting matching donors is very challenging – many sufferers die while on a waiting list for transplants.
UTMB’s work represents a landmark in regenerative engineering, but the truth of lab-engineered lungs being applied in transplants could be at minimum 12 years away, Nichols states that. The next phase of the study will be to test lab-grown lungs in pigs.
Dr. Nichols says says “It’s taken us a year to confirm to our self that we basically did a good job with it. You don’t run out instantly and tell the globe you have something amazing till you’ve proven it to ourselves that we actually did something amazing.”