Every 30 seconds, a patient dies from diseases that could be treated with tissue replacement. Anthony Atala, M.D., Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, gave a TED talk on their research into growing replacement body parts in their lab. The first successful human transplant of lab-engineered tissue was done in 1996, when they patched a torn urethra. Now, they can build an entire bladder onto a scaffold then transplant it (picture above). They use a patient’s own cells, so there’s no need to take expensive anti-rejection drugs for the rest of your life. (How expensive? Well, last time I dispensed Cellcept the total price was ~$600 for a one-month supply, and our cost was probably $599.43, because drugstores make all their money selling you greeting cards, batteries, and cosmetics. True story. Buy a card or GTFO.)
You can view the video below for an overview on what they’ve built and successfully transplanted so far. Here’s a fun drinking game: do a shot every time he says “actually” or “basically”, then hope they get those new bioengineered livers ready soon.
I want more like this!
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