The transplant allowed the pigs to breathe normally with no medical complications and opens up the possibility of doing something similar for humans in desperate need of new lungs. However, the newly published study reveals successful bioengineered lung transplantation into adult pigs, highlighting how much progress has been made in only a few years.
"The number of people with severe lung problems has risen globally, while the number of organs available for transplantation has declined". It still uses a donor lung at its core, but due to a stem cell fueled regenerative process established by the researchers, the number of lungs that could be used for transplant should no longer be as limited.
The lungs, which were tissue-matched to each individual pig, were grown in the laboratory.More news: Venus Williams tops Watson at Silicon Valley…
The team harvested lungs from dead pigs to construct a scaffold for the bioengineered lung to hold fast to. In 2014, they were the first to grow lung cells in a lab, and their method has been refined ever since to the point that the team is now able to bioengineer transplantable lungs.
The lungs were grown for 30 days and implanted into four pigs who were kept alive for 10 hours, two weeks, one month and two months to see how blood vessels were developing. However, even the two-month-old transplanted lung, while not showing any fluid collection that would indicate an underdeveloped organ, had not developed enough to independently supply the animal with oxygen. The transplants were successful and none of the pigs involved rejected the transplants.More news: Maurizio Sarri reveals who he wants Chelsea to sign this week
The cells used to produce each bioengineered lung came from a single lung removed from each of the study animals. But they next want to study the long-term viability of the organs. While the lungs functioned during the study, they weren't connected to pulmonary arteries. And, if all goes well, Nichols and Cortiella hope to grow and transplant bioengineered lungs into people within 5 to 10 years.
Given that some organs can not be transplanted from a living person to another (such as the heart), this narrows down the availability options even more, which is one of the reasons why the black market on organs is thriving.
"It has taken a lot of heart and 15 years of research to get us this far, our team has done something incredible with a ridiculously small budget and an amazingly dedicated group of people", Nichols and Cortiella said.More news: Iran starts naval drill in Persian Gulf