Tissue engineering is a rapidly expanding field which strives to develop viable organs. In this article, Petersen et al describe a novel technique for regenerating damaged lung tissue. Adult rat lungs were treated with a protocol which removed all cellular components from the lung, leaving behind an extracellular matrix which retained the airway and vascular structure of the original lung. Pulmonary and vascular cells were then seeded on the decellularized matrix, resulting in an engineered lung capable of gaseous exchange. The organ also demonstrated remarkably similar physiological properties to that of a normal lung. Although multiple issues remain to be addressed before tissue-engineered lungs can become a reality, this study nevertheless represents an important step in the in vitro development of lung tissue for clinical use.

Summary: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/329/5991/520
Full article (requires access to RCSI Library): http://www.sciencemag.org.proxy.library.rcsi.ie/content/329/5991/520.full
PMID: 20576850