Research team successfully grows human lung in lab.
Human lungs successfully grown in a lab for the first time.
Artificial Human lung made in lab for first time.
Hoax or Fact:
Fact with some missing information.
Messages doing rounds online claim that a research team of scientists has successfully grown artificial Human Lung in lab for the first time. Yes, it is a fact, but does not convey complete information. Doctors at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston said that they have successfully engineered human lungs in a lab for the first time - by finding a way to ‘grow’ the organ using parts of damaged lungs. If these artificial lungs work, the researchers said they could save lives.
The procedure involves taking a damaged human lung that cannot be used for a transplant and removing the cells and materials until there’s only the skeleton or scaffold of the organ. As shown in the Image Gallery, the white looking lung skeleton is stripped of cells and there is no blood. Then the doctors add salvageable cells and tissues from another lung to the first.
The UTMB scientists used lungs from 2 children who died from trauma, stripped them of cells and blood, and using it as a "scaffold," they then harvested cells from the other lung, and applied to the scaffolding. The new lungs were placed in a fish tank-like box with a nutritious liquid that allows it to grow into a human lung. After 4 weeks, the team of scientists extracted a complete human lung from the liquid, which were just pinker, softer and less dense. The UTMB scientists first announced their solution for growing human lungs in 2010. Shown in the video is a news report on this new procedure to grow human lungs in lab.
Talking about the scope of their new procedure, UTMB researcher Dr. Joaquin Cortiella explained:
"People ask us why we're doing the lung, because it's so hard. But the potential is so great, and the technology is here. It's going to take time, but I think we're going to create a system that works."
Another researcher Dr. Joan Nichols added:
"If we can make a good lung for people, we can also make a good model for injury.
We can create a fibrotic lung, or an emphysematous lung, and evaluate what's happening with those, what the cells are doing, how well stem cell or other therapy works. We can see what happens in pneumonia, or what happens when you've got a hemorrhagic fever, or tuberculosis, or hantavirus - all the agents that target the lung and cause damage in the lung."
The UTMB researchers said that they are planning to try transplanting the lungs in pigs in the next year or two, and that it may take a good 12 years before they start to experiment the transplantation in humans.
Successful lung transplants in humans are rare, because finding the matching donors is very difficult. There are thousands of people waiting for a lung transplant, some of whom even die in lack of a matching organ. Stem cell specialists have been working on growing human lung tissue for some years, but it is a complex organ. If the procedure of the UTMB scientists becomes successful in transplanting the working synthetic lungs in humans, it can fix the organ donor shortage and even save lives.