Researchers recently reported initial success in a transplant of decellularized lungs in pigs, though there is still a way to go in order to prove the ability to produce a completely functional lung in this way. In the decellularization process, donor lungs are stripped of their cells, leaving behind the extracellular matrix and its chemical cues for cell growth. The lung is then repopulated with cells derived from samples taken from the eventual recipient of the transplant. This minimizes the risk of transplant rejection.
Decellularization is a short-cut technology, a way to work around the present inability to produce sufficiently structured and chemically correct scaffolds for tissue engineering of complex organs. It will allow for a higher fraction of donor organs to be transplanted than is currently the case, make the logistics of organ transplant somewhat easier, as decellularized tissue is much more amenable to longer term storage, and also opens the door for the development of viable xenotransplantation, such as from pigs to humans.
Researchers have transplanted bioengineered lungs into pigs successfully for the first time. The team harvested lungs from dead pigs to construct a scaffold for the bioengineered lung to hold fast to. They used
Article originally posted at