Earlier we reported here at the hub that growing tissue and organs is not a science fiction story about the future, but instead is a technology that exists today. A company called Tengion is at the forefront of this emerging field of growing custom organs. Tengion is essentially a corporate vehicle for the commercial development of the major breakthroughs that have been made at the leading institutions in the field of organ and tissue regeneration. Most notably Tengion has rights to develop the research of Dr. Anthony Atala from Wake Forest where the most stunning results in the field of regenerative medicine have been achieved to date. Anthony Atala’s lab has grown a whole host of human organs including bladders, blood vessels, and heart valves.
Tengion does not have a commercially available product yet, but they have a serious arsenal of technology and patents and they are focused on bringing a long list of custom grown organs to the market. Tengion’s lead product candidate is a custom grown bladder called the Neo-Bladder which is currently in phase II clinical trials. Since Tengion’s organs are grown from the patient’s own cells these organs are not rejected by the body’s immune system, a common and serious problem for the typical organ transplant from a foreign donor. Below is a video of Anthony Atala giving an inside look at his lab which is simply amazing (although the reporter clearly doesn’t know a thing about science):