Washington: In a bold attempt to make body parts using stem cells, scientists in a north London hospital are growing noses, ears and blood vessels in the laboratory.
It is among several labs around the world, including in the US, that are working on the futuristic idea of growing custom-made organs in the lab, Fox News reported.
While only a handful of patients have received the British lab-made organs so far- including tear ducts, blood vessels and windpipes - researchers hope they will soon be able to transplant more types of body parts into patients, including what would be the world's first nose made partly from stem cells.
Alexander Seifalian at University College London, the scientist leading the effort said that it's like making a cake and they just use a different kind of oven.
During a recent visit to his lab, Seifalian showed off a sophisticated machine used to make molds from a polymer material for various organs.
Last year, he and his team made a nose for a British man who lost his to cancer. Scientists added a salt and sugar solution to the mold of the nose to mimic the somewhat sponge-like texture of the real thing. Stem cells were taken from the patient's fat and grown in the lab for two weeks before being used to cover the nose scaffold. Later, the nose was implanted into the man's forearm so that skin would grow to cover it.