Skin and nerves have already been grown on specially designed "scaffolds" made of materials that fool the body into thinking they are human. This regeneration has, until now, only been thought to occur in the foetus.
Professor Ioannis Yannas, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told a meeting organised by the Royal Academy of Engineering in London last night that developments in organ regeneration were on the brink of delivering real benefits for patients. "They will solve the organ shortage in skin and nerves. I am hopeful the same can be done for other organs but it will depend on the progress and funding of research," he said. "The goal is to help people who need transplants."