Rejuvenating old organs could increase donor pool


Despite the limited supply of organs available for patients on waitlists for transplantation, organs from older, deceased donors are frequently discarded or not utilized.

Available older organs have the potential to close the gap between demand and supply that is responsible for the very long wait-times that lead to many patients not surviving the time it takes for an organ to become available.

Older organs can also often provoke a stronger immune response and may put patients at greater risk of adverse outcomes and transplant rejection. But, as the world population ages, organs from older, deceased donors represent an untapped and growing resource for patients in need. Investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital are leading efforts to breathe new life into older organs by leveraging a new class of drugs known as senolytics, which target and eliminate old cells.

Using clinical and experimental studies, the team presents evidence that senolytic drugs may help rejuvenate older organs, which could lead to better outcomes and a wider pool of organs eligible for donation. Results are published in Nature Communications.

“Older organs are available and have the potential to contribute to mitigating the current demand for organ transplantation,” said corresponding author Stefan G. Tullius, MD, Ph.D., chief of the Division of Transplant Surgery at the Brigham. “If we can utilize older organs in a safe way with outcomes that are comparable, we will take a substantial step forward for helping patients.”

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3D bioprinting breakthrough leads to full-scale, functioning heart parts


A 3D-printed heart valve produced by Carnegie Mellon University researchers

While in its early stages, bioprinting of human tissue is an emerging technology that is opening up some exciting possibilities, including the potential to one day 3D print entire human organs. This scientific objective has now grown a little bit closer, with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University reporting a breakthrough that enabled the printing of full-scale heart components that in some cases functioned similarly to the real thing.

The specialized cells that make up the various organs in the human body are glued together by what is known as an extracellular matrix (ECM). This is a web of proteins that not only holds everything together, but also provides the biochemical signaling needed for an organ’s regular, healthy function. Collagen is a protein that plays a key role in this structural integrity, but when it comes to bioprinting, also brings some unique and notable challenges.

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Inside the controversial new surgery to transplant human wombs


Pioneering surgeons have made it possible to transplant a human uterus that can bear children, offering hope to millions of women who never thought they could give birth.

On September 4, 2014, in Gothenburg, Sweden, his 36-year-old expectant mother lay on an operating table, suffering from preeclampsia—a pregnancy complication associated with high blood pressure. The baby’s heartbeat showed signs of stress. Normally the woman’s doctors might have taken a wait-and-see approach, treating her with medication and hoping to give the nearly 32-week-old fetus time to grow to full term of about 40 weeks.

But this was no normal gestation. This was the world’s first human nurtured inside a transplanted uterus. He was the product of more than a decade of research. For years, no one had been sure he could exist in that womb—let alone be born. This was not a wait-and-see situation.

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Scientists grow kidney in the laboratory

Laboratory grown rat kidney.

Scientists in the the U.S. say the have “grown” a kidney in the laboratory and it has been transplanted into animals where it started to produce urine.  Similar techniques to make simple body parts have already been used in patients, but the kidney is one of the most complicated organs made so far.



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7 top medical breakthroughs coming in the next decade



An effective treatment for Alzheimer’s, a cure for the common cold, gene therapy that destroys cancers, transplant organs grown in the lab.  These medical miracles are no longer the dreams of science fiction, but are likely coming in the next decade, say experts.

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How people are turning to Facebook for organ donors

Damon Brown’s Facebook plea for a kidney paid off.
These days people are using Facebook for a lot more than looking at friends’ photos or playing addictive word games. Facebook and other social media sites are quickly becoming a go-to place to find a generous person with a kidney to spare.

‘Grow-Your-Own’ Liver – Scientists Produce Liver from Stem Cells

rat liver cells

A decellularised rat liver retaining its network of blood vessels.

Scientists have grown a liver in a laboratory, offering fresh hope to hundreds of thousands of patients with diseased and damaged organs.  It raises the prospect of those in need of transplants one day being offered livers that are ‘made to order’.


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Medical Technology is ‘Changing the Face of Healthcare’


Rate of MRI and CT/PET scans ordered or provided have tripled from 1996 to 2007

A boom in medical technology over the past decade or two has led to a surge in certain medical tests and increased prescription drug use, say authors of a report that provides a snapshot of Americans’ health today.Imaging, assisted reproductive technologies, prescription drugs and knee replacements have all seen a dramatic rise since the early ’90s, says Amy Bernstein, the report’s lead author, a health scientist for the National Center for Health Statistics. The center, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released the 33rd annual Report on the Nation’s Health Wednesday. It includes a special section on health technology.


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Skin From A Factory

Skin From A Factory 

Skin from a factory — this has long been the dream of pharmacologists, chemists and doctors.

Skin from a factory – this has long been the dream of pharmacologists, chemists and doctors. Research has an urgent need for large quantities of ‘skin models’, which can be used to determine if products such as creams and soaps, cleaning agents, medicines and adhesive bandages are compatible with skin, or if they instead will lead to irritation or allergic reactions for the consumer. Such test results are seen as more meaningful than those from animal experiments, and can even make such experiments largely superfluous.

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