Soon, though, patients might have a new source for brand new lungs: the lab.
In it, they detail their latest milestone along the path to creating lab-grown lungs for humans: they can now successfully transplant these bioengineered lungs into pigs.
To do this, they removed all of the cells and blood from pig lungs using a mix of sugar and detergent.
They then added cells from recipient pigs' own lungs to each of the scaffolds and let the lungs grow for 30 days.
Finally, they transplanted the four lab-grown lungs into the four recipient pigs.
Within two weeks, the transplanted lungs had already begun to establish the robust networks of blood vessels they need to survive.
During two months of post-transplant observation, the researchers found no signs that the animals' immune systems had rejected the new lungs. »