Artificial Body Parts
By Simone Gonzalez
Scientists today are looking into an all new way to help hospital patients who suffer from lost, decaying, or cancerous organs- growing new ones. By growing organs and body parts for people, healing can happen faster- and those who once would have had no hope will have a chance of living normal lives again. But what are the ethical, environmental, and political downfalls and benefits of this revelation? What stances do people have on the topic of growing organs? And how will it affect the future of medical care?
How It's Made
In recent years, scientists have developed "bioartificial" organs from stem cell seeded plastics; there have already been successful transplants of artificial windpipes and bladders. But other, more advanced ideas are being studied: as seen in the video below, a material called extracellular matrix has been tested for the purpose of regrowing muscles (in the case of Sgt. Ron Strang, a thigh muscle). This material is created by taking tissue and removing its cells; this can be done with a variety of organisms, because the matrix for them is very similar. The material is then washed of any DNA, dried, and sewn into a patient's skin. This material has not been tested in humans much further than it has with Sergeant Strang, but it has been studied for over 25 years.
How It's Made
- The new testing and use of artificial body parts has allowed injured people like Sgt. Ron Strang (shown above) to heal and continue to live their lives.
- The stem cell plastic organs will be more ethically accepted for some, because it uses the patients natural stem cells, as opposed to taking them from other organisms.
- The E.C.M. procedure prevents the use of synthetic materials, which can cause blood clots and further issues.
- Scar tissue can sometimes form around the stem cell plastic organs.
- Externally, the area can still look cosmetically improper
- Stem cell use is still an ethical concern for many, especially the source of said stem cells
- The tissue used to create E.C.M. may require killing some animals, which will cause controversy with animal rights activism
- E.C.M. is naturally produced by cells, and when applied to an organism, will send the body a signal to repair the area
- Sergeant Strang has happily reported being less insecure in public about how he walks thanks to the surgery that has helped his stride return to regular ability.
- Others to go through similar procedures have been able to return to their normal lifestyle.
- The procedure performed on Sergeant Strang could help many more veterans and bomb victims
- New organs could be created for amputees
Fountain, Henry. "Body Builders: Making Artificial Organs from Cells | Genetic Literacy Project." Genetic Literacy Project. New York Times, 19 Dec. 2012. Web. 12 May 2016.
Fountain, Henry. "Human Muscle, Regrown on Animal Scaffolding." The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Sept. 2012. Web. 12 May 2016.