The idea of engineering tissues that can replace whole body parts is pretty new. Someone I know who suffers from rheumatic-fever-induced mitral stenosis is pretty darn anxious for them to hurry up and perfect it before she’s put on the calendar for valve-replacement surgery. Current replacement options include only pig valves or mechanical ones. These new engineered ones are grown straight from the adult patient’s own cells. You still have to undergo the surgery, but the resulting replacement is a lot more likely to work without problems–IF it’s perfectly grown.
Now a scientist has perfected a much more powerful and effective way to examine these growing tissues for imperfections–the new technology gives a much better 3D image than MRI and costs a whole lot less ($1.5 million for an MRI machine, $15000 in material costs for the new approach).
This discovery also bodes happier days also for folks who need skin grafts and new blood vessels. Thank heavens for the dogged scientist who eats, sleeps and hangs out in the lab relentlessly pursuing his or her dream. We all win when the dreams come true.