Functional Lungs Grown in a Bioreactor

Entertainment Editor
06.25.10 3 Comments

Pictured: not the actual rat lung ’cause it’s super gross.

Used rat lungs have been stripped of unhealthy cells and renewed with healthy donor cells then successfully transplanted (temporarily) by Laura Niklason and her team at Yale.  If that seemed familiar, it’s because it’s almost the exact same opening sentence as the liver rejuvenation post from last week.  Holy crap, new livers and new lungs?  Smoke ’em if ya got ’em.

Old cells were stripped from the rat lungs using a detergent (the “decellularization” process), then the remaining scaffold was placed with fetal rat cells in a bioreactor which mimics a womb.  After 8 days, they had a delicious beverage healthy lungs that were working at 95% normal efficiency.  Similar to the rejuvenated livers, these lungs formed blood clots and had to be removed.  One researcher (Joan Nichols) interviewed by ScienceMag suggested that the lungs may have been too immature, and should have been left in the bioreactor for two months.  But I want my lungs nooooooow.

Gross video after the jump.  I was eating a burrito when I watched this.  Must be wearing my Bad Idea Jeans today.

[Hat tip and half-eaten burrito to io9.]

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