For the first time, scientists at UTMB have successfully grown human lungs in the lab. Growing organs may seem like science fiction, but it's the goal of medical researchers because so many people need organ transplants and many die waiting for one.
“The most exciting part is to shorten the time people have to wait for an organ transplant,” said UTMB Dr. Joaquin Cortiella. How did they do it? They started with a damaged lung. “We removed all the cells, all the material in it, and just left the skeleton of the lung, or the scaffold, behind — the pieces of the lungs that are no cells. That's why it's so white and pretty and there's no blood in it, it's very pretty looking. And then we added back cells from another lung that couldn't be used for transplant but still had some viable cells in it,” said Dr. Joan Nichols, who leads the UTMB team.
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