Discovery News: Complex Body Parts Could Soon Be Lab-Grown
Various groups of scientists have recently created thyroid cells in the lab, grown a new ear in the skin a woman's own arm, and won a Nobel Prize for figuring out how to reprogram cells so that they can turn into a variety of cell types.
In the future, there may be no limit to the kinds of organs and body parts that can be created from scratch.
One hope is to make donor organs obsolete, or at least far less necessary, eliminating long waiting lists for transplants. By using a patient's own cells, the new wave of regenerative medicine also circumvents ethical arguments and reduces the chance that recipients will reject their new parts.
"We now have the ability for the first time to create a virtually unlimited supply of all the cell types and building blocks we need to make what we want to make," said stem cell researcher Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer at Advanced Cell Technology, a biotechnology company in Marlborough, Mass. "Now we just have to put it all together." ...