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Researchers transplant lab-grown lungs into pigs
Pigs that received the lungs survived for 10 hours, two weeks, one month and two months after the procedure.
Study offers hope for humans living with severe lung disease

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) have successfully transplanted genetically-engineered lungs into adult pigs.

Writing in Science Translational Medicine, researchers describe how they created the lungs using a ‘support scaffold’ and that all of the pig recipients stayed healthy - some for up to two months. They also note that just two weeks after transplantation, the lab-grown lungs established a strong network of blood vessels which is essential for the lung to survive.

“We saw no signs of pulmonary oedema, which is usually a sign of the vasculature not being mature enough,” explained study authors Joan Nichols and Joaquin Cortiella. “The bioengineered lungs continued to develop post-transplant without any infusions of growth factors, the body provided all of the building blocks that the new lungs needed.”

In the study, researchers treated lungs from unrelated animals with a concoction of sugar and detergent. This process removes all of the blood and cells in the lung, leaving only the scaffolding proteins - or the lung’s skeleton - behind.

The team placed the lung scaffolds into tanks filled with a mixture of nutrients, before carefully adding the animals’ own cells. The bioengineered lungs were then grown in a bioreactor for 30 days prior to transplantation. Pigs that received the lungs survived for 10 hours, two weeks, one month and two months after the procedure.

Nichols explained that the study’s aim was to ascertain how well the bioengineered lungs adapted and continued to mature within a living body. The team did not, however, analyse how much they provided oxygen to the animal.

“We do know that the animals had 100 per cent oxygen saturation, as they had one normal functioning lung,” said Cortiella. “Even after two months, the bioengineered lung was not yet mature enough for us to stop the animal from breathing on the normal lung and switch to just the bioengineered lung.”

Future research will now focus on long-term survival, the maturation of tissues and gas exchange capability. The team are confident that with enough funding they could grow lungs to transplant into people in as little as five to 10 years. 

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ISFM announces first veterinary nurse conference

News Story 1
 The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) - the veterinary division of International Cat Care - has announced its first annual conference dedicated to veterinary nurses. The day offers an opportunity to meet up with colleagues and enjoy more than five hours of stimulating CPD.

The conference is being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Stratford-Upon-Avon, on Saturday 15 September 2018. Tickets are £95 per person and include lunch, coffee breaks, downloadable proceedings and CPD certificate. For details and to book your place visit www.eventbrite.co.uk  

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WSAVA awards Australian vet with 'Next Generation’ award

Australian vet Dr Guyan Weerasinghe has been crowned winner of the WSAVA ‘Next Generation’ Veterinary Award. The award recognises those who graduated within the last 10 years and have made a significant contribution to the welfare of companion animals and the veterinary profession as a whole.

Besides maintaining a small animal caseload, Dr Weerasinghe works for the Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture where he is involved with animal disease surveillance and increasing the public health risks in veterinary practice. He also collaborates on various One Health projects across Australia and gives regular talks on the impact of climate change on animal health and welfare.

Dr Weerasinghe will receive his award at the WSAVA World Congress 2018 (25-28 September).