Stories tagged bladder

May
20
2008

Another day at the lab: Not exactly a "clean room," but it does the trick.
Another day at the lab: Not exactly a "clean room," but it does the trick.Courtesy phil dokas
These days it’s all about growing organs. Like the Frankenrat hearts, remember?

Don’t get me wrong, growing hearts from scratch is great, but, really, what am I supposed to do with an extra heart? Frame it? Bo, grow me an organ I can use now, and we’ll talk. That’s why I’m getting into this little development: replacement bladders. Or, as I like to call them, extra bladders.

Turn that one over in your braincase. You’re engaged in one of the countless activities during which you don’t want to be peeing (watching a movie, taking a bath, wrestling a bully) and all of a sudden…you’re full to the point of overflowing. How did that happen? It was all that Gatorade—those bottles are so big! But no probs, just switch to the auxiliary tank. Or, you know, if you lost your bladder to cancer. Then it would be pretty nice too.

The process for growing the bladders is sort of similar to the heart-growing linked to above. Progenitor cells from the recipient’s old bladder are grown in a culture, and then seeded to an organic frame—a bladder-shaped scaffold made from collagen. Once the tissue grows over the scaffold, the whole thing is implanted into the recipient.

The procedure has been tested on 14 large mammals, and within six months the new bladder seems to work pretty much the same as the original, with no abnormal tissue growth, or signs of rejection from the host body.

I can hardly wait.