U.S. doctors have successfully implanted bladders grown in the laboratory into patients with bladder disease. These custom bladders grew from the patients’ own bladder cells on a specially shaped mold. The surgeons hope to use the technique to repair or replace other complex internal organs. Seven youths aged four to 19 are the first beneficiaries of new bladders engineered by Dr. Anthony Atala and colleagues at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. ‘In terms of actually engineering a complex construct that we engineer outside the body and then we implant inside the body, this is really the first time we have been able to do that,’ he said. The youthful patients Dr. Atala treated had congenital bladder disease that caused unnaturally high pressures inside the organ. This problem can damage the kidney, which produces the urine passed by the bladder. Traditional bladder reconstruction usually involves grafts from the small intestine or stomach. But the use of such tissue can cause complications because it is different from bladder tissue. Intestinal or stomach tissue absorbs liquids, while the bladder is designed to excrete them. Atala’s team took an alternative approach. They extracted bladder tissue from the seven young […]

Read the Full Article