Wednesday, June 07, 2006



A stunning story from the Sydney Morning Herald today about a future, a decade or so from now, when humans will be able to 'grow' their own custom-made, or even custom-designed, new organs.

Should this become a reality, it will do away with transplants, and the drugs needed to fight off the human body's natural reaction to reject foreign elements.

Australian researchers today revealed they had successfully grown new heart tissue that beats spontaneously, with its own intrinsic rhythm, inside a rat.
The researchers said the development was the first step to growing entire new organs to replace diseased and injured body parts inside humans, using a patients' own cells to minimise the chance of rejection.

"I think a decade would be a realistic, truly a realistic estimate (before tissue engineering replaces organ transplant)," said research leader Professor Wayne Morrison, from Melbourne's Bernard O'Brien Institute of Microsurgery.

The process could be used to grow a whole heart, a patch to repair a heart defect or fix a congenital heart defect, he said.

"The capacity to create organs has huge ramifications for the thousands of people worldwide whose survival depends on transplants, especially heart patients," Professor Morrison said.

"This tissue engineering breakthrough will bring new hope, confidence, identity and dignity into the future for millions of people of Australia and the world."
The rest of the story describing the process of experimentation that led to this remarkable development is worth a read. Go here for that.

Ten years...if you can afford to buy the new organs. And that will be the big 'if'.

Of course, this would also mean that people who had the money could eventually have new limbs custom grown for them, such as longer legs, say, for added height, fully musculated new arms (who needs to hit the gym?), and stronger, fresher lungs.

Imagine what the ultra-billion dollar world sports industries could do with such human-tech?

The Immortal Man future grows ever closer.

New heart, new lungs, new limbs, new eyes, new flesh, and eventually new bones, a whole new spinal column even. You could theoritically live forever, simply by replacing each body part, or internal organ, as they wear out.

Absolutely remarkable.

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