On their blog, Frog Design have a slideshow summary of some of the most amazing recent medical breakthroughs from labs around the world, including whole organ decellularization and customizable bacteria, as well as details of the newly-established Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) at Kyoto University.
Writer Anna Kardaleva explains the amazing process of whole organ decellularization:
University of Minnesota researchers recently announced that they have created a beating heart in the laboratory. This may sound like the stuff of a Philip K. Dick science-fiction novel – but it’s a real breakthrough in regenerative medicine.
The researchers used a detergent to remove cells from a dead rat heart, leaving behind only the nonliving fibers that give the heart its shape: a white, rubbery, 3-D structure called the extracellular matrix. This biological scaffolding allows cells to attach and grow into functioning tissue and gives the heart muscle something to pull against.
Scientists then injected cells from neonatal and newborn rats’ hearts into the left ventricle of this extra-cellular matrix and pumped oxygen and nutrients through the structure of blood vessels to support cell growth. Eight days later, the hearts were pumping.