In an attempt to add body snatching to the list of endangered job descriptions, scientists are perfecting ways to grow organs (the kind usually found inside the body) in a lab. These “bioartificial” organs are identical to the ones produced when your father grabbed his crotch one day and whispered sweet nothings into your mother’s ear.
The Montreal Gazette reported in November 2010, that Spanish scientists presented a new groundbreaking technique to create bioartifical organs that involved “stripping” a donated heart, liver or other organ leaving just a “scaffold.” Stem cells from the patient were then applied to this framework to re-grow the organ in much the same way as a Chia Pet sprouts fur, without the need to constantly water it. The cells are then incubated in a little oven that looks suspiciously like a microwave. Hopefully, it doesn’t do double-duty (Fred, would you mind removing this lung for a minute? I need to reheat my coffee.”)
According to the March issue of National Geographic, “a jawbone has sprouted at Columbia University and a lung at Yale.” Disturbing as the visuals might be (After all, does one really want to walk into a lab and see a table covered with random tongues?), the ability to create organs and tissues is improving daily.
Boomers the world over can rejoice in the thought of shiny, new body parts made out of stem cells taken from human embryos, or better yet, from amniotic fluid. In one case, according to National Geographic, “a cell phone-size kidney has passed tests on sheep-it’s not yet implantable, but it’s wearable, unlike a dialysis machine…”
Let’s hope the scientists figure out a way to get that little kidney back into the body where it belongs. Otherwise, we might all be walking around with organs attached to the outside of our bodies. Not only would this pose a difficult challenge to the fashion industry, but airlines would have to create a seatbelt that could secure all body parts prior to liftoff and touchdown. After all, the last thing one wants is to be smacked in the face by one’s own bladder.