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These Miniature Human Hearts Could Help Solve the Organ Transplant Crisis

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If we could artificially grow a real, working organ with the complexity of a lung or heart outside of the lab and customize it to match someone’s very own tissues, we could completely turn around the organ transplant crisis that kills 17 people in the U.S. each day.

One breakthrough that has inched us closer to this reality is the creation of miniature organs, called organoids, that resemble the brain, kidney, lungs, stomach, liver, and complex tissues. These organoids aren’t just a hopeful, futuristic solution to organ shortages or transplant rejection—scientists are using them to understand how humans and diseases develop.

But a challenge to this undertaking is seeing what exactly is going on inside the organoid—how its cells are behaving and interacting with each other, how they respond to new stimuli like drugs or growth hormones—without being invasive or damaging.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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