Bladders created in the laboratory from a patient's own cells and then implanted in seven young people have achieved good long-term results in all of them, a team of researchers reported yesterday in a medical journal.
It takes about two months to grow the new bladder on a scaffold outside the body. After implantation, the engineered bladder enlarges over time in the recipient. The researchers say they expect that the new bladder will last a patient's lifetime, but the longevity will be known only as the children grow older.
The hope is that someday the experimental reconstruction procedure will be standard for larger numbers of patients, including adults, and for those with other kinds of bladder damage.
A major advantage of his technique is that rejection cannot occur because the cells used to create a new bladder are from the patient, not from another individual. So an ultimate aim — still years off — is to develop the technique to grow a wide variety of other tissues, possibly even organs, to help relieve the shortage of donor organs available for transplanting, said the research team's leader, Dr. Anthony Atala. He directs the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Not only useful for replacing organs, but also for total body rejuvenation.
Imagine a future where we could replenesh our aging bodies with younger cells. This would mean a gigantic boost for human health and longevity.
Here is an article (Adobe Acrobat Reader required and freely available) that covers this in more detail.