Adult Stem Cell Therapy Blog

Tissue-engineered bladders successfully transplanted

Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - Stem Cell Guru

A very interesting article which first appeared in April's medical journal 'The Lancet' but was also published widely on health and medical sites yesterday. (The full story.)

Way back in 1999 a reseach team at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, led by Dr. Anthony Atala, transplanted the first tissue enginered bladder into a human. Dr. Atala published papers on the medical technique but until now had not mentioned human cases so as to allow a follow-up period to make sure that the organs were working.

Now, almost 7 years later Dr. Atala has made his findings public. In 'The Lancet' article, Dr Steve Chung, of the Advanced Urology Institute of Illinois hailed this achievement as a "milestone." Not only in the treatment of bladder cancer but also as a stepping stone to other organs being successfully grown outside the laboratory.

The bladder, which is basically a membranous sac, is a very inert organ. It is not known how complex organs like the heart or the lung can grow in laboratory conditions but Dr Atala's team is currently working on 20 different organs and tissues including blood vessels and hearts.

It's worth pointing out that this technique doesnt stem cell population or cloning techniques but does use the patients own cells to hopefully grow new organs.

In the not too distant future will patients simply be able to grow their own replacement organs? Immortality is only a step away!


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