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Rats Breathe Air From Lungs Grown In the Lab 112

cremeglace writes "'For the first time, an animal has drawn a breath with lungs cultivated in the lab.' Although preliminary, the results might eventually lead to replacement lungs for patients. Researchers at Yale University have successfully applied a technique called decellularization that involves using detergent to remove all of the cells from an organ, leaving a scaffold consisting of the fibrous material between cells."
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Rats Breathe Air From Lungs Grown In the Lab

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  • As in TFS, (Score:4, Informative)

    by mujadaddy ( 1238164 ) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @06:28PM (#32684764)
    "WITH" not "FROM"
    • You ruined my helium balloon joke :(

    • by grcumb ( 781340 )

      "WITH" not "FROM"

      And here I was, ready to comment with:

      That's nothing. I've breathed air from way worse places than that!

      Which would have got us a whole thread of hilarious queef jokes, and more.

      ... Spoil-sport.

      • It's a good comment, though. Try finishing your work earlier in the day, and you, too, can hang out with the first post kids ;)
  • Next Step (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Replicating the effectiveness of a whale's lungs in humans. Our lungs suck.

    See, now you can mod this both Interesting AND funny!

    • by sznupi ( 719324 )

      IIRC, it's more about their blood.

      • Re:Next Step (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Relic of the Future ( 118669 ) <dales@digitalfre[ ].org ['aks' in gap]> on Thursday June 24, 2010 @07:42PM (#32685420)
        Yeah; if you want to see impressive lungs, look at a bird.

        The impressive thing about a whale's lungs, is the percentage of air exchanged in one breath. The impressive thing about a bird's lungs is the percentage of oxygen they can take from the air.

        • by TheLink ( 130905 )
          So efficient that fumes from a overheated PTFE coated frying pan can kill many birds...
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Dude, I think the nuggets were already dead before you put them in the pan....

            • by TheLink ( 130905 )
              What do nuggets have to do with birds?

              Many of these nuggets, sausages and patties can have the disclaimer: "No animals were harmed in the making of this product, OK so the pig grunted a bit in protest but it survived mostly intact".
      • Re:Next Step (Score:4, Informative)

        by RsG ( 809189 ) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:04PM (#32685616)

        IIRC, it's more about their blood.

        Not just that, but also the level of myoglobin in their muscle tissue. Sperm whales have incredible oxygen storage capabilities, and actually collapse their lungs when diving deep.

        • by sznupi ( 719324 )

          and actually collapse their lungs when diving deep fill them with, essentially, plasma from the blood?

          • Meh, humans can do that too with enough training.

            No, really. Look it up.

            • by sznupi ( 719324 )

              Yeah, that's probably also how I got to know about the mechanism in whales, I think.

              Thing is - it's not exactly a matter of training, mostly a physiological response. One which I wouldn't be quick to consider as routine and safe in case of a human. But whales, sure.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                Well, the only people who've experienced it have gotten really good at freediving, like Yasemin Dalklç, so I imagine the physiological response only starts exhibiting itself once it gets enough external stimulus.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 )
              For those who are having trouble with this concept, they're talking about the mammalian diving reflex. You'll get much better results searching for that than trying combinations of "lungs fill with fluid." In fact, once you've looked through all of the articles of punctured lungs, kidney failure, and congestive heart failure, you'll wonder why they'd think this is a benefit at all.
  • Lucky Rats (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lotana ( 842533 ) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @06:29PM (#32684782)

    This is a wonderful age to be a mouse/rat.

    Biotech is amazing!

    • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @06:30PM (#32684800)
      It's a great time to be a rat! Lawyers and politicians the world over rejoice!
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Time to reimagine TFA's title:

          Lawyers Suck Life from Living Tissue (in a lab).

      • Too bad they don't euthanize them after two hours.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      No kidding.

      Now Smoking can be cool again!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hedwards ( 940851 )
        I know you're kidding, but the lungs are hardly the only part of the body damaged by smoking. In fact it's relatively hard to find a part of the body which isn't impacted in one way or another by smoking.
    • I read the headline as simply meaning that a mother rat had baby rats whose lungs grew, and all this took place in a cage in a lab, therefore the lungs grew in the lab as stated. Didn't say anything about artificial.
    • Yeah, really lucky, to get your lungs torn out, replaced by some low-performance monstrously looking man-made ones, closed up, and expected to breathe trough them. Think constant shortage of breath and the resulting fast breathing an panic. Yay, amazingly wonderful. :/

  • Remind me to never wash with that detergent...

  • Up next, rats get erections from penises grown in the lab. Pfizer buys all patents and markets a complement drug to Viagra.

    • Up next, rats get erections from penises grown in the lab.

      Uugh. You're reminding me of one of the most disturbing Southpark episodes ever.

  • by MarkvW ( 1037596 ) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @06:39PM (#32684864)

    Feeling like you're gonna die?
    Feeling like you can't take another breath?
    Enter the Philip Morris "WIN A LUNG" contest?

    Just send in one Marlboro proof of purchase today!

    Philip Morris: "Making things Better With Tobacco" (TM)

    Void where prohibited by law.

    • Re:Enter and Win! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cosm ( 1072588 ) <> on Thursday June 24, 2010 @07:10PM (#32685144)
      Honesty, as a dirty cigarette smoker, I would love the applications of this in the future. Seeing as smoking cigarettes is mostly consensual (granted your not encroaching on other peoples relative airspace, being tarnished with smoke on a crowded bus, or throwing your butts all over the damned place), I think this would be cool for the average person who enjoys cigarettes. The psychology of the previous statement (the enjoys portion) could obviously be argued, under the wing of the psychological / biological additions department.

      But if I am smoker that participates in my habit respectful of the wishes of other, courteous in my carcinogen ingestion, would it be such a travesty if there were an abundant supply (IE, people who haven't consensually and knowingly destroyed their lungs getting first priority, and the excess up for auction / sale), giving the smoker the ability to purchase new lungs. This understandably does not counteract the hundreds of other detriments to the body smoking yields, but at least of the the major concern of many.

      Of coarse any medical procedure that encourages a habit so vocally hated (yet balance book loved **tax revenue**), the average politician would have nothing of it the eyes of an irrational voter not seeing all sides of the argument for pay-per-lung adoption schemes, despite the process doling out fair opportunities to those in genuine need, I believe political rhetoric of fire-and-brimstone proportions would kill such a proposition before it even hit the table.
      • Re:Enter and Win! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:01PM (#32685576) Journal
        A friend's mother recently died of lung cancer, and I'd love to see lives extended by this that would otherwise be cut short. Of course, in a world with limited dollars to pay for medical care, one has to wonder if treating lung cancer or emphysema this way might sometimes come at the expense of treating someone else with a non-"consensual" condition like cystic fibrosis.
        • Re:Enter and Win! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @11:05PM (#32686666) Journal
          In some countries smokers put in MORE money into the system than take out. The "limited dollars" often come from them in the first place. For example in the UK, smoking related problems cost the national health care system 5 billion UK pounds a year, but the tobacco tax revenue is about 10 billion a year.

          So just increase the tobacco tax in your country till it evens out or you get a net gain. Legit drug money...

          I'm a nonsmoker and I'm fine if smokers want to make extra contributions to society, and die younger in countries where "aging population" is a concern. As long as there are nonsmoking places and smoking places (don't ban smoking in restaurants/pubs etc, just tax establishments that allow smoking more- then you allow choice and don't miss out on revenue).

          People (especially children) should be educated on the dangers of smoking, but once they are adults smoking is not really a big problem to me. Second hand smoke might shorten my lifespan, big deal, bad drivers might shorten/ruin my life even more.
        • Like a lot of things (e.g. cars, televisions, etc.) it will start off as a luxury item for the rich and well to do, but eventually we'll find a way to make it cheap enough for the common person. Somebody has to pay the high initial costs while the technology is in its infancy and unless society is down with spending millions on a charity case, it's probably going to be the rich asshole who smoked five packs a day who gets the new lungs.

          It's not exactly just, but then again neither is life.
      • Assuming they're legal in your jurisdiction, why not use E-cigarettes?

        • by cosm ( 1072588 )
          As a 5+ year smoker, they just don't cut it. With current medical technology it is vain of me to assume I can healthily continue the habit, yet I have tried a couple of the E-Cigarette brands, such as Njoy, Blu, and they are just not the same. Not only are the chemicals in actual cigarettes addicting, along with the oral fixation, but the actual burning sensation in the lungs itself can be euphoric in times of stress, and that is something the E-Cigarettes fail to convey.

          Of course, doing anything that caus
          • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Just a little note that may be helpful. I've been a pack a day smoker for 12 years, and have recently transitioned successfully to an eCig. I can still smoke regular cigarettes on occasion when the eCig is not convenient or as satisfying. (I have smoked approximately three packs over the last three months.) I admit that the eCig is not as satisfying, but it has been enough.

            The way I transitioned was to use a nicotine patch for two weeks while smoking the eCig continually, and immediately quitting the regula

            • by cosm ( 1072588 )
              I will have to give that a shot, thanks AC. Always looking for a new way to quit. I hate the habit, but enjoy the sensation, sounds like a good approach.
          • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

            I have a friend that "rolls his own" eCigs. He says the trick to make it more satisfying is to up the voltage to about 4.5v to get a hotter vapor and to use a variety of high quality flavors (red bull is one of his preferred ones). IIRC it can be done for less than $10 of electronics.

      • The problem is that the effects of smoking go way beyond what this research can assist with. And I'm assuming that it can be made viable in the relative near future. The reality is that it's hard to find a part of the body which isn't impacted in one way or another by cigarettes. Increasingly it's looking like any contact with the chemicals in smoke whether second of third hand is unhealthy.

        When you consider all the problems in the world, solving smoking in any other way that preventing it is a waste of
        • ...Because clearly, the only people who might ever need a replacement lung are smokers.
        • Yes; but a majority of health problems(mortal) , are, to the lungs in smokers. Lung cancer and Emphysema. Might I add that emphysema is not cancer, is mainly caused by smoking and can also be caused by poor working conditions in "unhealthy" working conditions. Ever take a look at the ACS(American Chemistry Society) obituaries? As others have said, It's a tax revenue and in countries with their heads out of their asses, smokers pay more in than take out.
        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          Actually even the evidence for 2nd hand smoke is a bit on the shaky side. I'm just waiting for the more rabid faction of the antis to come out with 25th hand smoke. If you shake the hand of someone who knows someone who's across the street neighbor's uncle's etc's best friend thought about smoking once, you will surely die.

          Brought to you by the same people who mysteriously DON'T want e-cigarettes to exist even though a great many people have given up actual smoking because of them.

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        You write like you're a responsible and respectful smoker. Hats off to you, seriously. Unfortunately, your kind is rare. Most smokers have no idea how disgusting and pervasive their habit is. I think it's partly because their olfactory systems are so damaged that they simply don't understand how bad it smells to others.

        A tiny selection of my experiences:
        - Smoker sitting right next to a non-smoking sign: "Oh, I'll just finish this one."
        - In a restaurant (no longer legal, thank goodness) before I've
        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I think it's partly because their olfactory systems are so damaged that they simply don't understand how bad it smells to others.

          As an ex-smoker, let me be the first to say you've hit the nail on the head. Smokers simply don't realize just how vile they actually smell, and the deep down visceral gut wrenching reaction that non-smokers receive from smelling stale cigarette smoke. The smoke that is just coming off the cigarette isn't actually all that bad... it's what lingers around after that is the really disgusting thing. And when I say gut wrenching... I mean it. My job puts me around various types of dead and decaying animal

  • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @06:59PM (#32685050)
    The article mentions a similar procedure performed on the liver. Have they done any research into growing new kidneys? There are a lot of people dependent on dialysis who could really use a "quick and easy" way to get a new kidney. (At least as compared to the approximately seven year wait list for a donor transplant now. Or, you know, trying your luck in Thailand. [])
    • Well, the idea behind this is it's transferable to other organs. It's not like they have to nail down lungs before they begin working on the kidneys. The lung is a fairly complicated organ, so once it's perfected the kidneys will be a snap, and any other organ. The only thing they'll need to work out is the specific technique that applies to each organ.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      I vote pancreas. I've lost three family members to cancer: lung, nasopharyngeal and pancreatic. If you are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer you are more than 95% likely to be dead in five years.

      They've apparently been able to use this technique to create liver implants. That's cool too.

  • Next up, Lord Vader replaces his breather mask with mouse lungs. Boy, he's gonna be pissed! Or else the mouse is going to force-choke someone if he doesn't get his cheese, fast! "I assure you commander, that the Mouse Emperor will not be as lenient as I am. Perhaps you think you're being treated ... unfairly?"
  • I will begin smoking immediately in preparation and celebration!
  • "the results might eventually lead to replacement lungs for patients"

    I won't hold my breath for it!

  • ... but oh well. Is the lung manufactured in such a way that it assimilates to a level that will affect its children's lungs?
    The reason I ask is that maybe we can consider making the lungs function in such a way that it causes the mice to breathe slower and therefore _be_ slower and easier to catch ... cuz those sons-a-bitches move like greased lightning and I almost killed myself in my garage trying to catch one.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:57PM (#32686026) Homepage Journal
    Now all those rats used in the smoking studies will be able to get new lungs! Hooray!
  • Not quite there yet (Score:4, Informative)

    by confused one ( 671304 ) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @09:33PM (#32686272)

    The researchers allowed the animals to breathe with the lungs for up to 2 hours before euthanizing them because of blood clots.

    They're not quite there yet...

  • Each implant still requires the skeletal remains of someone else's organ. Where do they plan to get all these organs? I love the idea that every recipient needs to leave behind their old organ to form the basis of for the next guy's

    It's the ultimate in recycling!.

    • There are a lot of organ donors who die, but in such a way that the organ is unsuitable for transplant (not to mention, I'm pretty sure we can't transplant lungs in any event). So all the organ donors currently "wasting" lungs will be able to provide them, as will many organ donors who die with organs they can't otherwise transplant; they may not be able to use the organ as is, but in many cases they can strip the cells and regrow an organ over the framework that remains.
  • GeneCo provides organ transplantation for profits. In addition to financing options, GeneCo reserves the right to implement default remedies, including repossession. For those who can't keep up with their organ payments, collection is the responsibility of "organ repo men", skilled assassins contracted by GeneCo. Repo men are ordered to recover GeneCo's property by any means necessary.

  • Argh! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jackd ( 64557 )

    Rats Breathe Air From Lungs Grown In the Lab

    Argh! Stop trying to cure rats. We have billions of rats, we don't need to try to heal the unhealthy ones.

    • They're not (Score:3, Informative)

      by justinlee37 ( 993373 )

      The researchers are not trying to save rats. They're trying to save human lives. Unfortunately, it isn't wise to use experimental medical procedures on humans as sometimes the treatment being tested ends up doing more harm than good.

      I can't tell if you're just trying to be funny or if you really don't understand this.

      • by jackd ( 64557 )

        The researchers are not trying to save rats. They're trying to save human lives. Unfortunately, it isn't wise to use experimental medical procedures on humans as sometimes the treatment being tested ends up doing more harm than good.

        I can't tell if you're just trying to be funny or if you really don't understand this.

        Thank you! I was deeply concerned there for a minute. What a waste of resources trying to create artificial rat lungs, when I can go down to my local pizza place, and find freshly dead rats, who are all great candidates for rat-to-rat transplants for example. Thanks for clearing this up. I really think they should have been more clear in the headline.

  • I for one would like to see an animal rights group to bring down some of its wisdom down on that lab.
  • if they could manage to grow and implant gills into rats that would rock

At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens that person is carrying.