HOLLISTON, Mass., Jan. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In an era long, long ago, there was only one way to make something grow—seed it, feed it, water it, love it, give it some sunshine. Today, there are many more ways to make something "grow." We are living in a new era, one in which the science and technology is here to regenerate tissue and organs, not just from lab rats, but also from cows and humans.
Recently, the world's first synthetic hamburger was made out of meat from the muscle cells of two organic cows. The cells were put into a nutrient solution to help them develop into muscle tissue, growing into small strands of meat.
Currently in China, a man is making headlines for growing a nose at the top of his forehead, after a severe car accident and an infection damaged to his original nose.
While a new nose and some hamburger meat are remarkable achievements, regenerative medicine is also being used to grow life-saving replacement organs. Several years ago, the world's first transplant of a synthetic plastic trachea seeded with stem cells was performed. The recipient of the new trachea, Andemariam Teklesenbet Beyene from Eritrea, has been living for more than two years with his "new" organ. In that time he has graduated from the University of Iceland, where he was studying for an MS degree in geophysics, and continues to enjoy life with his wife and daughter, who was two months old at the time of his operation.
The artificial trachea was made possible by a slew of physicians, researchers and science companies. For example, Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology (HART), a company developing tools used in regenerative medicine, has developed two of the key components to make the artificial organ possible. The first component was a plastic scaffold formed in the precise size and shape of Beyene's trachea. The second component, called the InBreath bioreactor, was used to ensure that the stem cells "grew" around the plastic scaffold, thus turning it into a fully functional organ. Through this regenerative medicine process, and because the transplant recipient's own stem cells were used, there has been no need for post-transplant anti-rejection drugs.
Since Beyene, there have been several more synthetic tracheas successfully grown in the InBreath bioreactor and implanted into patients who needed them to save their lives. After the surgery, these patients were able to breathe on their own, and even talk.
The future of medicine is here today. For more information about HART, visit www.harvardapparatusregen.com.
Contact: Laura Radocaj, Dian Griesel Int'l. 212.825.3210
SOURCE Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology