In the wonderful new age of regenerative medicine, scientists are growing replacement skin, ears, urinary bladders, and other body parts in the lab.
Scientists at San Diego-based Organovo have learned to print slices of liver in 3D, with the ultimate aim of growing the entire liver.
Organovo’s liver tissue also showed a normal liver response to acetaminophen, the drug sold under the brand name Tylenol, and others. The results suggest that the 3D-printed liver slices function about as normally as a typical human liver. _Organovo Prints 3D Liver Slices
Part of the secret to growing new organs rests in the topography of the cellular scaffolding. Advances in nanotechnology are likely to help in the shaping and programmed growth of new organs.
The ultimate in regenerative medicine will be the re-growth of organs in situ — inside the body at a suitable location. Learning to re-grow amputated arms and legs will be the beginning.
Growing new organs inside the body will provide the new tissues with all the advantages that the interior body milieu can provide to new tissues. Replacement kidneys, hearts, lungs, arteries, and more could be grown inside implanted membrane compartments. When ready, they would be connected surgically into the system — and the old degenerated parts would be discarded.
Some readers will no doubt be thinking beyond the humdrum life-extending possibilities of regenerative medicine to the kinkier fringes of experience. We know that scientists can grow new vaginas. What if a woman wants two vaginas, for purposes of family (if she has 2 or more husbands), work (prostitution), or fun (orgies)?
What if she also wants a working, feeling penis, to extend her experience into new recesses?
We are poised on the verge of a biotechnology revolution. It will take time to understand all of the ramifications and imaginative permutations. The old codes that limited us (for good and ill) are falling away. Everything you think you know, just ain’t so.
There has never been a better time to have a dangerous childhood.