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Solving The Organ Donor Shortage

With Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook.

Are lab grown blood vessels, hearts and lungs the answer to the nation’s organ donor shortage? We’ll look at the brave new science.

Murnaghan Family

Sarah Murnaghan, center, celebrates the 100th day of her stay in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with her father, Fran, left, and mother, Janet. (AP Photo/Murnaghan Family)

Last week 10 year-old Sarah Murnaghan’s family made headlines when they won their fight for a coveted pair of lungs for their daughter stricken with Cystic Fibrosis.  But what about all the other’s waiting on the organ transplant lists?

Life-saving organs are in short supply.  The solution may be to grow the parts we need in the lab.  Print blood values on 3-D printers.   Create windpipes hearts and lungs  tailor-made with a patient’s own cells.

This hour, On Point: the brave new world of growing body parts.

Guests

Malcolm Ritter, science reporter for the Associated Press, focusing on biological research news. (@MalcolmRitter)

Christopher Breuer, co-director of the Tissue Engineering Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, director of Tissue Engineering in the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s new Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell Based Therapies.

George Annas, professor of Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights at the Boston University School of Public Health.

On Jane’s Reading List

ABC News: Girl Recovering in Hospital After Lung Transplant Controversy – “The 10-year-old girl whose family successfully fought a rule preventing her from qualifying for adult lungs was in recovery after she received a lung transplant from an adult donor, according to a family statement.”

Associated Press: To Ease Shortage Of Organs, Grow Them In A Lab? – “But what if there were another way? What if you could grow a custom-made organ in a lab? It sounds incredible. But just a three-hour drive from the Philadelphia hospital where Sarah got her transplant, another little girl is benefiting from just that sort of technology. Two years ago, Angela Irizarry of Lewisburg, Pa., needed a crucial blood vessel. Researchers built her one in a laboratory, using cells from her own bone marrow.”

The Daily Mail: The remarkable images that show how scientists are now able to PRINT entire body parts such as ears and noses – “Although experts say it will be some time until they are able to grow entire functioning organs, bioengineers are already able to grow and use new blood vessels in patients. And they are now closer to being able to offer patients replacement ears and noses.”

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Rescue workers work on debris of the Germanwings jet at the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes, France, Thursday, March 26, 2015. The co-pilot of the Germanwings jet barricaded himself in the cockpit and “intentionally” rammed the plane full speed into the French Alps, ignoring the captain’s frantic pounding on the cockpit door and the screams of terror from passengers, a prosecutor said Thursday. (AP)

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