Lab-grown human organs will shape the future of medicine

Lab-grown human organs will shape the future of medicine

A before and after in medical care is fast approaching. Recently, for the first time in history, a transfusion of laboratory-grown red blood cells has been performed, a technique which, if developed, could be a viable alternative to blood donation.

The blood cells produced were grown from donor stem cells. If this clinical trial, called RESTOREdemonstrates its safety and efficacy, engineered blood cells could eventually revolutionize treatments for people with blood disorders such as sickle cell disease and rare blood typesbecause it can be difficult to find enough matching blood donations for some people with these disorders.

The RESTORE trial is a joint research initiative of NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) and the University of Bristol, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Cambridge Clinical Research Center and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust“Explains the British National Health Service (NHS) in a press release.

Even though this is the first time that blood has been grown in the laboratory, it is not the first innovation of its kindexplains Adam Taylor, professor and director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Center at Lancaster University.Lancashire, England.

Scientists have used lab models for years to study how organs and tissues work to the understanding of pathological processes and the test of new treatments“, added the specialist.

In this sense, recent advances have been described as “organoids »which are increasingly common in research.

Organoids closely resemble the structure and function of life-size human organs. This allows researchers to study how many different diseases or viruses can affect human health. They also provide a better understanding of stem cells (from which they develop), which can become almost any cell in the body. »adds Taylor.

Organoid brains have helped scientists understand the devastating effect of the virus zika in brain development. They also play a broader key role in understanding different neurological conditions, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

One of the main advantages is that they allow researchers to observe, in real time, the changes that occur in the brain as they occur, something that is not possible with humans.

Organoid hearts have also been successfully cultured in the laboratory. After a week of development, they are functionally equivalent to the heart of a 25-day-old embryo, capable of beating between 60 and 100 times per minute. Recent advances have also made it possible to develop heart cells from stem cells, paving the way for the growth of larger and more efficient heart organs.Taylor said.

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