Obtaining viable human organs from stem cells is considered one of the greatest scientific achievements of 2020. During 2020, teams of scientists from the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University (USA) succeeded to grow liver and mandibular bone from stem cells. There are also reports on a prototype of a human heart with all chambers and a vascular network grown in a laboratory.
The substrate for laboratory culture were human skin cells, which scientists first reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells using technology discovered by John Gerdon and Sinya Yamanaka (2012 Nobel Prize) and then during 1 month cultured the liver using a bioreactor. Stem cell-grown liver at the University of Pittsburgh was even transplanted into laboratory rats. A few days later, it was noted that the artificially grown liver was functioning normally.
In order to consider the possibility of transplanting a liver cultured in the laboratory to humans, scientists still need to solve some problems with the blood supply to the body. But the possibility of using such implants for people waiting for a donor organ is already being considered. By the way, umbilical cord blood stem cells are an ideal material for obtaining IPS cells for tissue engineering purposes.
The substrate for the cultivation of the mandibular bone were adipose tissue stem cells. Different populations of mesenchymal stem cells can also be isolated from umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord or placenta.
The mandibular bone is one of the most complex bones in the human body in terms of structure and function, and mandibular graft transplants are often required in plastic and reconstructive surgery. The grown jaws were transplanted to laboratory pigs. Bioengineered bones have been engrafted and functioned normally. Scientists are now preparing to transplant bioengineered bones to humans as part of clinical trials, in particular to patients with congenital occlusal abnormalities.
Concerning the “heart from a test tube”, according to scientists, this is the first step towards creating full-fledged transplants of this life-sustaining organ from stem cells.
Earlier in Ukraine, it was reported that national scientists received pulsating heart cells from stem cells. Also work is underway to create biografts of heart valves from umbilical cord blood stem cells in different countries of the world. Such a bioengineered valve, transplanted to a baby with heart defects, will be able to grow with the child, and save the little patient from further operations to replace the prosthetic heart valve as the body grows.
The Ukraine’s first Cryobank of umbilical cord blood stem cells, other human cells and tissues, established in 2003 at the Institute of Cell Therapy, offers future parents services for cryopreservation of umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord and placenta stem cells according to international standards. Preserved stem cells can be used to treat a wide range of serious diseases. Uptodate science also gives reason to hope that the possibility of growing organs from stem cells will soon be available.