Modern transplantology, despite a fairly good level of development, is still driven into the absence of the necessary number of organs for transplantation, because they almost always need to be taken from live and agreed donors. A good way out of the situation would be to learn how to grow organs “in vitro”. And significant success in this area was achieved by biologists from the University of Texas, who made the first ever transplantation of lungs grown in artificial conditions.
The publication Science Translational Medicine writes about the breakthrough in transplantology. According to the report, the lungs were grown as follows: the protein matrix of pigs was taken as the “framework”. The protein matrix is, in fact, a skeletal structure that supports the shape and some features of the morphology of cells and organs. From the matrix, all cells were removed and placed in a nutrient solution. Then, malodifferentiated porcine cells were added to the matrix. After 2 weeks, the cells were populated with a matrix and pulmonary tissue began to form on its basis. But the most important thing is that the artificial lung began to form a vascular network. According to the project manager Joan Nichols,
“At the moment it is quite easy to grow almost any tissue, but it is very difficult – permeable microvascular networks capable of supporting tissue functioning and physiological pressure levels. This remains the main problem of tissue engineering. “
The cultivation of a” ready “organ took about a month. After that, the formed lungs (which were several pieces) were transplanted to the experimental pigs. The animals were observed for 2 weeks and none of them began the process of tissue rejection. Moreover, the level of oxygenation of the blood was within normal limits. Now scientists are aimed at carrying out longer experiments, if successful, it will be possible to talk about the beginning of experiments involving people.