US researchers who were the first to
successfully grow human lungs in the lab say their breakthrough could
eventually save the lives of people waiting for a lung
The team at the University of Texas Medical
Branch in Galveston started with a damaged lung, ABC News reported.
"We removed all the cells, all the
material in it, and just left the skeleton of the lung, or the scaffold, behind – the pieces of the lungs that are not cells," team leader Dr Joan
Nichols explained. "And then we added back cells from another lung that
couldn't be used for transplant but still had some viable cells in it."
'grows' new cheekbones
The scientists grew their first human lungs
in the lab last year and said they hope to transplant the first set of
lab-grown lungs into animals this year or next, ABC News reported.
might take years before use
But it could be five to 10 years, or even
longer, before it might be possible to use lab-grown lungs to save the lives of
people who need new lungs, the scientists said.
Currently, more than 1 600 people in the
United States are waiting for a lung transplant, ABC News reported.
Picture: Lungs from Shutterstock
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