Scientists used stem cells to grow tiny lungs in a lab and they actually breathe in and out. Find out what this could mean for the future of lung transplants.
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Growing Lungs in the Lab Female: Two active women were both robbed of their right to breathe. Pam Taylor: At my worst point, I was ready to lay down and die. Liesbeth Stoeffler: I was on oxygen 24/7 Female: Liesbeth Stoeffler barely survived the six false alarms before doctors found healthy lungs for her transplant. Liesbeth Stoeffler: Number seven was the lucky number. Female: What if instead of waiting lists, scientists could grow new lungs in the lab? Andrew price: Ultimately it would be great if we were able to completely bioengineer a lung for transplants Female: University of Minnesota took the first step in doing just that Out of stem cells, they created tiny mouse lungs that breathe in and out. Andrew price: It was really cool. I was really surprised that they stayed in tact enough to hold air. Female: Scientists took a mouse lung, stripped away all of the cells, then injected special adult stem cells into the framework. They're called induced pluripotent stem cells. They can be taken from anybody, usually from the skin, and re-programmed. Angela Panoskaltis-Mortari: They can become any cell type in the body if properly directed to do so. Female: the goal is to one day use lungs of a deceased person. She hopes to do this by adding cells from the skin of a transplant patient and growing designer lungs. Angela Panoskaltis-Mortari: Because you would be using stem cells from the patient in rebuilding the organ. This organ would now not be recognized as foreign by the patient's immune system; and therefore, not be rejected. female|: Every year, 400,000 people in the United States die of lung diseases. Only 1,000 of the nearly 4,000 patients on the waiting list receive a lung transplant. Science getting closer to growing the organs needed to fill the donation demand.