A Swedish hospital recently announced that a cancer patient was saved after doctors grew him a new windpipe in the lab using a synthetic structure and the man’s own stem cells. That might have sounded like science fiction just a few years ago, but today it is landmark news. Regenerative medicine has the ability to usher in radically longer and healthier lives, yet few are considering the implications.
The ability to grow new replacement parts for humans when original organs break down is a game-changer when it comes to extending human “health spans” — the amount of time one is alive and healthy. A handful of human subjects have already benefited from innovations in this area and dozens of organs have been successfully grown in the lab, including a rat heart.
The science is not easy, but because of the exponential growth of technological tools, it is moving faster than many had expected. Such growth has happened before.
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