We are all wearing out. So it is good news that more progress is being made in developing our future needed replacement parts.
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 – Researchers at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have reached an early, but important, milestone in the quest to grow replacement livers in the lab. They are the first to use human liver cells to successfully engineer miniature livers that function – at least in a laboratory setting – like human livers. The next step is to see if the livers will continue to function after transplantation in an animal model.
The ultimate goal of the research, which will be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in Boston, is to provide a solution to the shortage of donor livers available for patients who need transplants. Laboratory-engineered livers could also be used to test the safety of new drugs.
"We are excited about the possibilities this research represents, but must stress that we're at an early stage and many technical hurdles must be overcome before it could benefit patients," said Shay Soker, Ph.D., professor of regenerative medicine and project director. "Not only must we learn how to grow billions of liver cells at one time in order to engineer livers large enough for patients, but we must determine whether these organs are safe to use in patients."
Organ replacement is not just about replacing aged organs. Another important purpose for new organ transplants: they will become a great way to get rid of cancer. Genetic testing can identify very early stage cancers. Those genetic tests will let us know with lots of warning when we will need a replacement part. But we will need home genetic testing for cancer to enable sufficiently cheap and convenient testing to enable early stage identification of cancers. Home genetic testing is an essential technology for extending our lives.
Once we know that we need replacement organs then genetic testing in tissue engineering labs will help to identify genetically undamaged cell lines suitable for growing replacement parts. Genetic testing has many uses in maintaining our health because the biological software that is our DNA has to be maintained in an uncorrupted state in order to assure our continued good health.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2010 November 01 11:30 PM Biotech Organ Replacement|