Growing organs

There are a couple of new reports out today of lab-grown organs being successfully transplanted into people.  The organs in question are a vagina and a nose.  So far all lab-grown organs that have been transplanted are relatively simple, using only one or two types of cells and with the primary function being structural.  Progress beyond this point faces the problem of figuring out how to get more cell types to fit together in more intricate ways so that the organ’s proper function can be performed.  I suspect that for many more complex organs, aside from simply growing the cells and getting them in the right configuration, a training period will also be needed.  None of our organs start out at 100% function.  They go through a long development period before they are let loose.  I think figuring out the right way to train an organ is going to be as important as just getting all the cells together.

 

Articles in question:

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2814%2960542-0/abstract

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2814%2960544-4/abstract

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