Added 2 March, 2014
Organ transplant patients will no longer need donors, as scientists are perfecting their ability to grow biological organs in the lab. This is not fanciful science-fiction. Researchers have succeeded in growing human lungs in the laboratories of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Using stem cell technology, the scientists have grown several complete human lungs, each in about four weeks. The big question, of course, is when such lab-grown lungs will be used as transplants, a goal that the medical team thinks is about 12 years away. The promise of lab-grown organs is immense, mainly because the current system of finding matching donors from recently-deceased patients is very difficult. It raises interesting philosophical questions too. Will humans start to see themselves differently when they know that they can extend their lives – perhaps indefinitely – by replacing failing body parts?