Bioengineered organs, which still mainly are the stuff of sci-fi, might have just moved a step nearer to actuality with reports that scientists have found success implanting lab made lung tissue into living rats.
The completely functional tissue is able to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide, which is the key function of the lungs.
The scientists, where the team was led at Yale University, who made use of a chemical treatment to remove all existing cells from adult rat lungs, to keep the arrangement of the airways and vascular system in one piece to later serve, as a kind of scaffold for the development of new lung cells.
They then refined a mixture of lung cells by making use of a bioreactor that was designed to impersonate the fetal lung environment and repopulated the decellularized rat lung with the engineered cells.
When implanted into rats for intervals of as short as varying from 45 to 120 minutes, the new tissue exchanged gas in a way that was comparable to that of natural lungs.
The researchers, Don Ingber and his squad at Harvard University, specify their dual-chambered micro-device in the similar issue of Science, stating that it might offer a low-cost option to animal and clinical studies for drug screening and toxicology applications.