Can Human Organs be Grown in the Lab?

 

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In The Organ Takers I show you a lab full of organs that have been grown from porcine (pig) scaffolds and human stem cells.

 

In The Organ Growers I take you through the process of growing a human kidney using human stem cells and a porcine kidney.  

 

But, can human organs really be grown in the lab?

 

To date, relatively simple organs, such as arteries, urinary bladders and tracheal segments, have successfully been fabricated in the lab and implanted into human patients. Because the patient’s own stem cells have been used, there is no rejection of the organ, and therefore no need for immunosuppression.

 

Now imagine being able to do this with hearts, lungs, kidneys, and livers.

 

First, this would bring an end to the huge mismatch between the number of organs needed and the number of organs donated.

 

Second, the cost, risks, and life-threatening complications associated with immunosuppression would be eliminated.

 

And third, surgeons would no longer be forced to violate the bodies of the brain dead to harvest their organs, or subject healthy live donors to the morbidity of surgery. Ventricular assist devices would be obsolete. Dialysis machines will be collecting dust. 

 

With so much to be gained, regenerative medicine labs around the world are working on tissue engineering and organ fabrication techniques, and great strides are being made. Take a look:

 

 

 

And here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

 

 

 

So, back to my original question. Can human organs be grown in the lab?

Simple organs? Yes.

Complex organs? In a decade, perhaps two, but certainly within our lifetimes, and if you are my age and your organs have about 50,000 miles on them, the sooner this becomes a reality, the better.

 

The Organ Growers (McBride #2) will be available this summer. For now, go to the preview page for more information and to read an excerpt.

 

For more about The Organ Takers (McBride #1), including the inspiration for the story, two sample chapters, and links to buy the book, go to the preview page

 

For a series of excerpts from the first 11 chapters of The Organ Takers, along with author insights into the story, check out these Bublish book bubbles. The links are here.

 

Thank you, and Happy Reading.

  

 

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