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Scientists Successfully Create Lab Grown Limb

Scientists Grow a Rats Limb In A Lab

Scientists Grow a Rats Limb In A Lab

Reality – meet science fiction. In what will be considered a major leap forward, researchers at Massachussets General Hospital have been successfully able to grow a rats limb in a lab. What is even more amazing is that the limb also contains functioning veins and muscle tissue.

“The composite nature of our limbs makes building a functional biological replacement particularly challenging,” said senior author Dr Harald Ott.¬†“Limbs contain muscles, bone, cartilage, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and nerves – each of which has to be rebuilt and requires a specific supporting structure called the matrix.”

Amputees have always faced adversity in treatment, with so many possibilities that can affect the success of a limb replacement. The body may reject limbs, not to mention the ongoing prescriptions of immuno-suppresant drugs which also have their own side effects. If scientists can successfully grow limbs made from the same cells as the patient, it would knock off both the possibility of rejection and the need for such medicines.

While it may be some time before researchers are able to bioengineer human limbs, its a huge leap forward in the process.

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(Image Credit: Bernhard Jank, MD, Ott Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine)