The science behind made-in-the-lab lungs

Bioengineered lungs have been successfully transplanted in animals, scientists report

Bioengineered lungs, developed by growing autologous cells on acellular lung scaffolds, can be successfully transplanted into pigs, researchers report.

"There was no infection, no rejection of tissues, and animals tolerated the bioengineered lung transplant very well," said Dr Joan E Nichols from University of Texas Medical Branch, in Galveston.

Whole bioengineered lungs have been transplanted in small animal models, but so far no approach has allowed for long-term survival of these lungs after transplantation.

Dr Nichols and colleagues produced bioengineered lungs using acellular lung scaffolds and autologous tissue from unilateral pneumonectomies, supplemented by growth factors in hydrogels and nanoparticles,.

They transplanted them into four pigs 30 days after the pneumonectomy.

Pulmonary function, which was reduced after the original unilateral pneumonectomy, returned