This year researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch have created lungs in the lab and successfully transplanted them into pigs. The pigs survived for a few weeks after the procedure. Whilst the procedure is in a very early stage the future looks promising. If this procedure could be adapted for humans, patients requiring a lung transplant may not have to go on a lengthy waiting list. If the lungs could be bioengineered from the patient’s own cells the risk of organ rejection could also be reduced.
Also this year, researchers from Yale University and the University of Michigan repopulated decellularized human lung and rat lungs with induced pluripotent stem cell‐derived epithelial progenitor cells. These cells lined the decellularized human lung and expressed most of the epithelial markers when they were cultured in a lung bioreactor system. Their results suggest that repopulation of lung matrix with iPSC‐derived lung epithelial cells may be a viable strategy for human lung regeneration and represents an important early step toward translation of this technology.
Ghaedi,M., Le,A.V., Hatachi,G., Beloiartsev,A., Rocco,K., Sivarapatna,A., Mendez,J.J., Baevova,P., Dyal,R.N., Leiby,K.L., White,E.S. and Niklason,L.E. (2018) Bioengineered lungs generated from human iPSCs‐derived epithelial cells on native extracellular matrix. Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine 12:e1623-e1635.