SEP 19, 2016 10:47 AM PDT

Scientists Grow 3-D Lung-in-a-Dish from Stem Cells

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
In the past year, biomedical engineers have created lab-grown heart cells, retinal nerve cells, and even vocal cords that can ‘talk.’ Adding to the astonishing list of organoids engineered in the lab, researchers at the University of California announced 3D lab-grown lung tissues.
 
Lab-grown lung-like tissue (left) resembles adult human lung (right) | Image: UCLA

"While we haven't built a fully functional lung, we've been able to take lung cells and place them in the correct geometrical spacing and pattern to mimic a human lung," said Brigitte Gomperts, an associate professor of pediatric hematology/oncology at UCLA, and the study's senior author.
 
The team began by chemically treating cells derived from adult lungs back to its stem cell state. Then, these cells were used to coat sticky hydrogel beads, which formed a scaffold for the 3-dimensional shape of the air sacs in the lungs.
 
"The technique is very simple," said Dan Wilkinson, a graduate student in the lab, and the paper's first author. "We can make thousands of reproducible pieces of tissue that resemble lung and contain patient-specific cells."
 
The straightforward approach of creating lungs-in-a-dish was intended to help researchers study defects in the lung that can’t be replicated meaningfully with two-dimensional (2-D) cells grown in a dish. In particular, it’s not possible to mimic the scarring that happens in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 2-D cells because the sick cells appear to recover once taken out of the patient.
 

With the new technique, researchers are able to induce the fibrosis (scarring) with certain chemicals. This is a more accurate representation of the cells in patients with Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
 
Furthermore, the model can be immensely useful in testing of new drug targets that slow down or potentially even reverse the lung scarring. Gomperts points out that because the procedure is very simple, multiple organoids can be grown just for one patient. She sees this as opening the door to streamlined, targeted treatments for every individual patients – an approach that’s much in line with the Precision Medicine Initiative.  "This is the basis for precision medicine and personalized treatments," Gomperts said.

Additional source: UCLA
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JUL 12, 2018
Cardiology
JUL 12, 2018
Heart Attacks and Improving Heart Regeneration
A recent study has found that treatment with the protein, VEGF-C, improves healing and recovery of heart function after a heart attack....
AUG 11, 2018
Microbiology
AUG 11, 2018
A Microbrewery can Help us Monitor Radiation Exposure
This wearable technology is very sensitive, and can be used by workers that are at risk of radiation exposure....
SEP 15, 2018
Clinical & Molecular DX
SEP 15, 2018
Cancer & Anoikis: A Match Not Made in Heaven
Anoikis have always been intimately entwined with cancer, henceforth the quest to seek how they came to be as such....
OCT 21, 2018
Technology
OCT 21, 2018
Stress-free Sensor Technology Measures an Unborn Heartbeat
Monitoring the heartbeat of the unborn is known to be stressful for expectant mothers. However, recent research at the University of Sussex may ease this p...
NOV 08, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 08, 2018
Is Daily Aspirin Safe For Heart Attack Prevention
The benefits of aspirin use in patients with known cardiovascular disease (CVD) are well-established. A 2015 meta-analysis reviewed data gathered from 118,...
NOV 29, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
NOV 29, 2018
Pet Genomics Might Need to be Leashed
Experts say genetic testing for pets is not quite ready for the market, but that hasn't stopped companies from selling tests....
Loading Comments...