There’s an ancient Indian tale about a ruler who offered the inventor of chess any gift he desired. The sage gestured to a chessboard, “I’ll have one grain of rice… read more
To Aubrey de Grey, the body is a machine. Just as a restored classic car can celebrate its hundredth birthday in peak condition, in the future, we’ll maintain our bodies’ cellular components to stave… read more
The retina is a complex and fragile piece of equipment, but without it, the world would be completely dark. With a number of diseases that can erode the delicate tissue… read more
There’s something a little creepy-sounding about the phrase “lab-grown organs,” but producing human organs in the lab could have a range of such powerful benefits that, if they became widely… read more
Researchers have successfully produced skin in the lab that reproduces the skin barrier. The advance presents a viable alternative to animal testing for cosmetics.
The work of scientists trying to manufacture major human organs like the brain and heart in the lab has generated a lot of buzz, even though it will most likely… read more
Since the development of induced pluripotent stem cells in 2006, scientists have managed to use the manufactured stem cells like seeds to grow a wide range of tissues and rudimentary organs. But different tissue types have not proven equal, and researchers are still struggling to coax stem cells to take on certain roles: Lung cells have proved difficult to create. Columbia University researchers recently managed to develop functional lung and airway cells from human iPSCs.
Blindness might just be the first major disability to disappear, at least if our high-tech future takes more a utopian than dystopian bent. A bionic eye is already on the market in the United States, and stem cell therapy has been shown to restore sight in mice. Now British scientists have successfully printed retinal cells.
Stem cells aren’t just good for growing new organs, they can also heal old or damaged ones from the inside. Thousands of patients whose hearts were damaged in a heart attack have undergone some form of stem cell therapy worldwide, and the results are promising. But there’s a problem. Once in the heart, the cells don’t tend to stay put.
Some Spanish researchers were the first to turn mature cells into stem cells inside the body itself. They prompted the cells of adult mice to regain the ability to develop into any type of specialized cell, which is normally only briefly present during embryonic development. The results were published in September in the journal Nature.
Austrian researchers have used regenerative techniques to grow a miniature human brain in the lab, they reported recently in the journal Nature. Using a bioreactor to improve cellular growing conditions, scientists obtained a brain-like organ that exhibited differentiated brain regions but stopped growing after a few months.
A growing number of researchers are looking to build hearts, like other organs, from biological tissue. Such hearts have the added benefit of using the patient’s own tissue, reducing the chance of rejection. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh medical school made a significant breakthrough: They created a heart that beat on its own.