A new medical boundary was set as scientists have created the first transplantable lab-grown limb, new reports show. The great news was first communicated by scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital after reproducing the first lab-grown rat limb.
Medical scientists have been going great lengths in the past years to create the first artificial limbs. The objective was finally accomplished this week when researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital proved that they were able to grow a transplantable rat leg.
The experiment involved the careful observance and analysis of medical scientists. They have thus withdrawn cells from the vascular and nerve system of deceased rats and placed them in a special environment to favor cell reproduction.
Scientists have stated that the withdrawn tissues have been subject to constant electrical stimulation. Muscle fibers contracted using 80 percent of the strength of a newborn rat, so the muscles, arteries and veins would regrow.
The endeavor turned out successful when scientists noticed that the tissue took the form of a rat limb. They continued the experiment by transplanting the lab-grown limb on a living animal. Blood continued to flow through the veins of the artificial member, thus proving that the experiment was successful.
Dr. Harald Ott of the MGH Department of Surgery and the Center for Regenerative Medicine was very proud of the recent medical discovery. He told the press that the achievement is all the more praiseworthy as the muscles, the bone cartilage, the blood vessels, ligaments and tendons have to be precisely reproduced in order for the limb to be fully functional.
Scientists have managed to carry out all necessary operations for the successful culture of the transplantable limb. Moreover, the relationships between the tissues in the matrix have been naturally preserved in relation to one another.
The limb of the dead rat was first subject to a week-long hygienic process presupposing the treatment of the leg with a special detergent in a bioreactor. Once all the cells of the limb have been removed, new vascular cells were injected into the main artery.
The injected cells led to the regeneration of the arteries and veins in the muscular tissue making the limb functional again. This last process lasted five more days.
Similar tests were carried out on baboon forearms and the same positive results were registered. Scientists hope they could soon develop human transplantable limbs, as well.
Image Source: Bioengineer.org