Skip to Main Content

After 30 days of nourishment, the bioengineered lung — transformed from a white gauze-like material into a pale lobe of bloodless flesh — was ready for transplantation. It was carefully inserted into the patient, an 80-pound Yorkshire pig, and then the scientists waited. Together, the pig and the lung would survive for two months.

That a lab-made lung could be placed inside a pig is perhaps unremarkable given what’s now possible in the fast-moving field of “designer pigs.” But that the lung survived as long as it did, and was grown using a new and possibly improved method, was significant, scientists say.


“You could argue that this is the first example of an engineered solid organ that’s been implanted into a large animal and shown any evidence of any function,” said Laura Niklason, a professor of anesthesia and biomedical engineering at Yale University who was not involved with the study. “It is definitely a step forward.”

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!


Comments are closed.