Spare parts for humans: tissue engineers develop lab-grown lungs and limbs

[Video Link]

Above, a PBS NewsHour report by science correspondent Miles O'Brien which I helped shoot, on the subject of tissue engineering. The goal in this field: Grow tissue or even whole organs to repair damaged or diseased human bodies.

The report focuses in part on Isaias Hernandez, a 26-year old Marine whose leg was badly injured in an artillery attack on his convoy, in Iraq. "It looked like a chicken, like if you would take a bite out of it down to the bone," he tells Miles.

Dr. Steve Badylak of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh harvested material from a pig bladder to grow replacement muscle in the young Marine's leg.

Full transcript for the story is here.


  1. If this technique was used to grow human meat steak, what would the societal response/implications be?  Would people buy it?  Would there be protests?  How would religion weigh in? 

    1. How about something simpler?  An ethical-hangup-free leather coat made out cultured skin with yourself as a donor? It’s probably possible today – except that a pair gloves would probably cost as much as a house…

  2. Nice to see that at least one US news source is using a journalist who can actually do science journalism and do it well.

  3. I’ve taken this guy’s introductory developmental biology course and he’s crazy good. Also pretty funny. I’m glad he’s getting the attention he deserves :D

  4. “The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine?”  “Then you know it?”  “Yes, we’re familiar with it.”

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