Growing Human Organs

Finding replacement parts for failed human organs has always been a big challenge, but man-made body parts are becoming real science, not science fiction. 

Wake Forest University School of Medicine is home to one of the largest regenerative medicine
centers in the world.

Experts of all kinds are working on creating lab-grown substitutes for human organs and tissues. 
Dr. George Christ, Ph.d. says many different scientific disciplines are involved in the research,
"Nano-technology, bio-materials, materials chemistry, uh, physiology, pharmacology, uh, cell biology, molecular biology, molecular genetics, and what we refer to as translational medicine."

The idea is to build an organ as close as possible to the real thing by growing it from the patient's own cells. "We can take something the size of a postage stamp. A biopsy the size of a postage stamp, and create something the size of a football field, uh in about 4 to 6 weeks."

Dr. Anthony Atala used the technique in a small study several years ago. Patients with defective bladders were given a re-engineered new one that worked. 

Researchers are now trying to grow about 20-different tissues and cells - replacements for nearly every part of the human body. 

Scientists hope someday no one will die waiting for an organ transplant. They'll just wait for their new one to grow.