Scientists Implant Lab-Grown Organs into Patients for the First Time

Karina Pawlak
5 min readFeb 27, 2024
Organogenesis. 2024. By Karina Pawlak

Dr. Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and chair of the Department of Urology at Wake Forest University, reported successfully growing bladders in the lab and implanting them into seven recipients — the first time in history that organs grown in vitro have been implanted in humans. The results were published in the April 4, 2006, issue of the medical journal The Lancet.

Atala’s work is part of a new research field called “tissue engineering.” Tissue engineering is a part of a broader field called regenerative medicine.

Atala explains:

Tissue engineering employs aspects of cell biology and transplantation, materials science and biomedical engineering to develop biological substitutes that can restore and maintain the normal function of damaged tissues and organs.

The seven patients picked for the study, three girls and four boys, ranged in age from 4 to 19. All seven patients suffered from myelomeningocele (my-e-lo-mening-o-seal). Myelomeningocele is the most serious form of spina bifida, a neural tube birth defect. Myelomeningocele often causes bladder dysfunction. The potential consequences of bladder dysfunction include leakage, painful urination, urinary tract infections and increased bladder pressure. High…

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Karina Pawlak

Philosopher. Artist. Powerlifter. Author of Lifting Weights & Growing Organs. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1927023939