LONDON (AP) - Scientists in a north London hospital are growing noses, ears and blood vessels in the lab in a bold attempt to make body parts using stem cells.
It's among several labs working on the futuristic idea around the world, including in the U.S. A handful of patients have received the British lab-made organs, such as tear ducts, blood vessels and windpipes.
The scientist leading the effort at University College London likens it to making a cake. Alexander Seifalian says, "We just use a different kind of oven."
Last year, he and his team made a nose for a British man who lost his to cancer. Stem cells were taken from the patient's fat and grown in the lab for two weeks before being used to cover a nose-shaped scaffold. Later, the nose was implanted into the man's forearm so that skin would grow to cover it.
Seifalian and his team are now waiting for approval from authorities to transfer the nose onto the patient's face.
Stem cell experts say it's an important step toward making more complicated organs, like a kidney, lungs or a liver.