(ScienceAlert) In the US alone, more than 1,400 people are waiting for a lung transplant - there simply aren't enough donor lungs available to meet the need. Soon, though, patients might have a new source for brand new lungs: the lab.
On Wednesday, researchers from University of Texas Medical Branch published a new paper in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
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.
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To grow the lungs, the researchers first created four lung scaffolds. To do this, they removed all of the cells and blood from pig lungs using a mix of sugar and detergent. This left them with just the proteins of each lung - essentially, its skeleton.