For the first time, scientists are reporting that organs grown in the lab have been successfully transplanted into people. It sounds like science fiction, but a team of U.S. scientists is making it a medical reality. In this case creating bladders using a patient's own cells.
"It's very much like baking a layer cake if you will. You're placing cells one layer at a time, and then you place that mold in the oven which is the incubator. And basically a few weeks later you have your engineered organ that you can place back into the patient," said Dr. Anthony Atala of Wake Forest Medical School.
Dr. Atala is leading the research at Wake Forest. His team has quietly been following seven patients who are living with lab engineered organs one for as long as seven years. Researchers waited until now to report the procedure because they wanted to study long term results. They know that a major advantage is there's no risk of organ rejection because the cells are grown from the patient's own cells. Scientists say more research is needed. They're hopeful that someday this technology may offer an option to those on long waiting lists for an organ transplant.