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Scientists have converted human embryonic stem cells into lung cells, taking an initial step towards building human lungs for transplantation.
While the actual lab construction of lungs is surely a far-off project, scientists are excited about their ability to control the development of cells. Some medical applications could be right around the corner.
Stem cells are special cells that transform into the various types of cells needed to make a living body. Embryonic stem cells are able to make the bone, muscle, blood and all other tissue from which we're all made.
Other groups have used stem cells in labs to make mouse sperm and human brain neurons.
Now scientists at Imperial College London have taken human embryonic stem cells and guided their conversion into the type of cell needed for gas exchange in the lung, known as mature small airway epithelium.