Saturday, March 23, 2013

Real Dr. Frankenstein grows body parts in his lab....

Welcome back, everyone :-)

I'd love to say I told you so...but I never really said we'd soon be purchasing replacement noses, throats and ears, much like you pick up a pair of jeans at the local store. But that is exactly what's happening...AND. IT. IS. TRUE. Futuristic technologies are barreling down on us in every facet of life, and the world of medicine is no different.


In Madrid, Spain, Dr. Francisco Fernandez-Aviles has created a body parts factory. Lost a ear to an accident? No problem; we've already grown replacements. Had life-altering surgery that removed your windpipe? No sweat; we've replaced those several times. Missing a nose because of an ATV accident? Check aisle six, and take your pick off the shelf. Okay, so maybe we have to mold that nose to specifically match your old one and then implant it under your arm for six months (long enough for skin and blood vessels to properly form) but you get the point. Other parts already successfully built and implanted include bladders, coronary arteries, standard arteries and tear ducts. 

Most recently, Dr. Aviles and his team have been working on the holy grail of organ replacements: the human heart. And they are making surprising, miraculous progress. If you wandered through their lab today, you might find them staring at a gray mass that looks like something a hunter pulled from his last kill. That's because the flexible gray mass is an actual heart removed from a human cadaver. But unlike a live heart from a standard organ donor, this heart does not have to resemble its recipient's original organ in any way, except for maybe size. That's because this gray mass has already been soaked in extra-powerful detergents to eliminate the original cells. What remains is the scaffolding, formed mostly from collagen and other proteins that are 100% interchangeable without rejection from body to body.


Now, somehow, just like the fictional Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Aviles needs to transfer life to what is currently an inert organ. Fortunately, no lightning rods or medieval dungeon conditions are required. The next step in the process will be to use stem cells to restore the various types of cells, while a bioreactor mimics body functions including blood-flow, waste removal and electrical connections with a pacemaker at their core. This bioreactor should be ready in a few months. Something similar but more basic has already successfully created a pulse in a reengineered rat heart. If everything goes well with the process and approvals, human hearts will be available in about ten years.

In the meantime, need a good nose?

If any of the futuristic sciences have already changed your life, I'd love to hear about it :-)

A much more detailed article about Dr. Aviles and his team can be found at The Wall Street Journal, here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323699704578328251335196648.html?ru=yahoo?mod=yahoo_itp

4 comments:

  1. This is unbelievable! Yes, I'll be sharing this.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jeff. It is truly spellbinding what is happening in the world today. It pains me that the economy is still so sluggish, but I am certain that future technologies are going to right the ship soon...and it doesn't hurt that some of these same technologies might keep us alive long enough to see it :-)

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Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! :-)