Scientists Successfully Build the First Functional Artificial Rat Limb

Bionic body parts used to be the stuff of science fiction, but no longer. Scientists have already been successful in growing artificial organs like kidneys, livers, and lungs. Now, researchers announced they were able to grow a semi-functional limb successfully.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) used the same method to grow the artificial limb as they did in growing organs called decellularization. This process was tested on rats for effectiveness, Dr. Harold Ott lead the experiment.

Ott explains how complicated the process of growing artificial limbs is, “Limbs contain muscles, bone, cartilage, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and nerves — each of which has to be rebuilt and requires a specific supporting structure called the matrix,” Ott said when answering questions about his latest experience. According to Brian Torchin, researchers are now planning an experiments with primates.

If Ott’s research continues to develop and experience success, artificial limbs could give hope to millions of people who lose them due to illness or injury. Although much more research will be needed before this kind of technology is offered to real life human patients.