Hold Your Breath: Made-to-Order Lungs Not Far Off

Science is equal parts beautiful and scary sometimes. Like when scientists take a step closer to regenerating a person's own lungs.

Science is equal parts beautiful and scary sometimes. Like when scientists take a step closer to regenerating a person’s own lungs.

Something that might have been taken out of a science fiction movie 50 years ago, scientists are now taking steps toward regenerating lungs. Recent breakthroughs give hope to the 100,000 people waiting on a lung transplant list.

Using a process called organ decellularization, scientists were able to take the lungs of an adult dead mice and implant healthy stem cells from unborn mice into those lungs. After a week in an incubator and with the help of a ventilator, the infused cells were able to attach themselves to the lungs, resulting in a lung that oxegenated blood 95% as well as a normal, healthy organ.

The regeneration of human lungs are still quite a ways off, but, needless to say, this is one giant step in the right direction. Scientists are hopeful that continued progress could lead to, one day, the removal of lungs “from a deceased person, decellularizing them, seeding the remaining framework with patient-derived stem cells to reproduce and develop into lung cells, and then transplanting the new lungs into people with diseased lungs to give them a new life.”

It’s becoming more and more difficult to create science fiction movies these days considering that nothing seems outside of the realm of possibility anymore. Check out the video and links below to learn more about the recent advances in lung regeneration.

Around the Web:

How Scientists Grow Working, Made-To-Order Lungs [Popular Science]

Growing Lungs In The Lab: Medicine's Next Big Thing? [WFTV]