Every so often I come across something that fits in the world of Science Fiction and reality and this is one of those times. In an article in NewScientist.com it would seem that Dr. Frankenstein has been hard at work and the worlds first biolimb has been grown. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have grow a rat forearm out of living cells in the lab. A primate limb may be next.
“A forearm is much more difficult to create in this way than a windpipe, say, as a number of different cell types need to be grown. Ott began by suspending the decellularised forelimb in a bioreactor, plumbing the collagen artery into an artificial circulatory system to provide nutrients, oxygen and electrical stimulation to the limb. He then injected human endothelial cells into the collagen structures of blood vessels to recolonise the surfaces of blood vessels. This was important, he says, because it made the vessels more robust and prevented them from rupturing as fluids circulated.
Next, he injected a mixture of cells from mice that included myoblasts, the cells that grow into muscle, in the cavities of the scaffold normally occupied by muscle. In two to three weeks, the blood vessels and muscles had been rebuilt. Ott finished off the limb by coating the forelimbs with skin grafts.”
What implications does this have? Who will benefit? and Should We?
If you want to read more head over to http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22630243.300-worlds-first-biolimb-rat-forelimb-grown-in-the-lab.html?full=true#.VXCNZs9VhBd