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Masonic Cancer Center researchers create breathing lungs in the laboratory

Scientists Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, Ph.D., and Andrew Price say their research could be a step toward supplementing the supply of donor lungs for transplant. (Photo: Jacob Portnoy)

 University of Minnesota scientists have achieved another research “first”—creating breathing lungs in the laboratory. This innovation comes two years after a different group of University researchers used a similar technique to create a beating heart in the laboratory.

A team led by the Masonic Cancer Center’s Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, Ph.D., and assistant scientist Andrew Price used a process called whole-organ decellularization to remove cells from the lungs of dead adult mice and implant healthy stem cells derived from unborn mice into the decellularized natural framework of the lungs.

After about seven days in an incubator, the infused cells attached themselves to the matrix while breathing with the aid of a tiny ventilator. The work appeared in the August 6 issue of Tissue Engineering.

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