HOW TO REMAKE A LUNG
PHASE 1: Strip It
Scientists fill a rat lung with a detergent that removes the organâ€™s cells, leaving behind only its inanimate collagen-based scaffolding. This is then placed in a standard nutrient-rich liquid that promotes cell growth.
PHASE 2: Build the Airways
Scientists pump epithelial cells extracted from baby rat lungs into the trachea scaffolding, which leads into other empty airways. The cells stick to the scaffolding and multiply to form the bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli, the tiny air sacs that exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the blood.
PHASE 3: Construct the Vessels
Making blood vessels is similar. This time, endothelial cells harvested from rat lungs are injected into the scaffolding of the lungâ€™s pulmonary artery. The cells grow to form the lungâ€™s veins, arteries and capillaries.