An Oesophagus Is the Latest Body Part To Be Grown In A Laboratory

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An international scientific team has successfully replaced 20% of a rat’s oesophagus with an artificial organ grown in the lab.

They used cells taken from the oesophagi to build scaffolds which they then seeded with bone marrow stem cells from the same animals. The rats appeared to make a rapid recovery once the artificial organs had been implanted.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, shows the transplanted organs display regeneration of nerves, muscles, cells and blood vessels.

The new method has been developed by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, within an international collaboration lead by Professor Paolo Macchiarini, Director of Advanced center for translational regenerative medicine.

The technique to grow human tissues and organs, so-called tissue engineering, has been employed so far to produce urinary bladder, trachea and blood vessels.

This month scientists reported in the journal the Lancet that they had implanted vaginas grown in laboratories into four teenage girls

In the latest study, tissue engineered organs could improve survival and quality of life for the hundreds of thousands of patients diagnosed with oesophageal disorders such as cancer, congenital anomalies or trauma.

Today the patients’ own intestine or stomach is used for esophageal replacements but satisfactory function is rarely achieved.

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