There has already been success by researchers in growing tracheas, bladders, and body parts like noses on scaffolds using stem cells. Why not try to develop something more complex, like a heart or lungs? Dr. Harald Ott is a surgeon and researcher at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital who has been working on this very question.
He has championed a technique called whole organ decellularization, which involves removing the cells from a healthy donor organ and then adding stem cells from the patient needing the transplant back onto the “natural scaffold.” Doctors wouldn’t have to be concerned about the patient’s body rejecting this tissue-engineered organ — you’re starting with a guaranteed immunological match.
Earlier this week Japanese researchers announced a working human liver made with stems cells. The other two most needed organs are the kidney and the heart, so this would be an incredible medical feat. Ailing patients won’t have to wait as long for transplants if Ott’s tissue engineering becomes a reality. Watch the video to learn more about bioengineered organs.