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Rat Lung Successfully Regenerated and Transplanted

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the what-I-want-is-some-hot-spares dept.

Biotech 59

Dr. Eggman writes "Nature Medicine brings us news of the latest success in the regeneration of the gas exchanging tissues [abstract is free; the full paper requires subscription or payment] of the lungs of a rat. Led by Harald C. Ott, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston used decellularization to produce a cellular scaffolding to serve as the basis of the transplant lungs. You may recall the previous achievements in use of this cellular scaffolding technique by Yale University. This latest announcement comes with the excellent news that the rat's airway and respiratory muscles performed the necessary ventilation (as a normal rat's would), and that they provided gas exchange for up to 6 hours after extubation, up from the previous 2 hours. They eventually failed due to capillary leakage resulting in the accumulation of fluids in the lungs. Although there's much work to be done, as not all the cell types found in the lung were regenerated, Ott and his team remain optimistic and estimated we might see regenerated organs for use in human patients within 5 to 10 years." PhysOrg has videos of the lungs doing their thing.

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Great thing (2, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | about 4 years ago | (#32941284)

once they perfect it and get it approved for humans. There is a big shortage of viable organ replacements, and something like this could work wonders, especially if it also gets around the tissue typing issues. But what do I know, I'm not in the medical field.

Re:Great thing (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about 4 years ago | (#32941310)

I'm 27, and I think it'd be great for the need to organ donors to no longer be needed in my lifetime. Not because being an organ donor is a bad thing, but simply because we found a better way of getting organs for those who need them.

Re:Great thing (5, Informative)

simula (1032230) | about 4 years ago | (#32941362)

This technique still requires donor lungs. However, there are two huge advances using this technique.
  • Because the organ is decellularized and repopulated with the recipient's own tissue, the recipient does not need anti-rejection drugs.
  • Because the organ is decellularized until it is the collagen matrix of the organ, it should be much easier to store and is not in danger of dying like regular organs.

Either one of these advances is a giant breakthrough in it's own right. Here is a link to a picture and story about the decullarization of rat hearts and their partially successful recullarization.

http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/health/medical-breakthroughs.html [frogdesign.com]

Re:Great thing (3, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about 4 years ago | (#32941382)

I'm just saying that growing a lung from scratch on a 3D degradable scaffolding isn't that far off.

Re:Great thing (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#32941476)

In the meantime, we really ought to be playing up the coolness, economy, and sex appeal of riding a motorcycle... When it comes to providing otherwise healthy, mostly-intact-below-the-neck, donors, those things are second only to sinister Chinese prisons, and a lot less unethical.

Re:Great thing (0)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about 4 years ago | (#32941500)

Right, because we're just awash in organs to provide to those who need them. Not every dies providing organs for donation (especially those donating a kidney or a lung). Also, not everyone requires an organ because of reckless/careless activities.

Re:Great thing (4, Insightful)

RollingThunder (88952) | about 4 years ago | (#32941620)

You have it backwards. He's saying that we need more people getting killed in motorcycle accidents, to ensure a supply of donor organs, until this new option is feasible.

I guess you've never heard of motorcycle riders referred to as "two wheeled organ donors".

Re:Great thing (2, Informative)

BobisOnlyBob (1438553) | about 4 years ago | (#32942176)

I usually hear them described as "eye donors". Helmets are great at protecting the head, especially the eyes, but the rest of the body usually ends up somewhat less usable... ew.

Re:Great thing (2, Informative)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about 4 years ago | (#32943130)

I have friends that run cemeteries and funeral homes. In the Death Care industry they call them "Donorcycles".

Re:Great thing (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32941762)

Vroom! That's the sound of an organ donor speeding overhead...

Ratlung? I Haven't Heard Them Play Since the 80's! (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | about 4 years ago | (#32942644)

If they can regenerate THOSE degenerates, then ANYTHING is possible! :-)

Dr. Farnsworth? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 4 years ago | (#32941832)

Dr. Farnsworth, is that you? You're not fooling anyone.

Re:Great thing (2, Insightful)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | about 4 years ago | (#32941604)

Agreed, all we need to find is a medium that can be used in the same manner as those 3D printers. Print out the medium in an organ shape, and populate it with the donor cells - grow new organ.

Re:Great thing (1, Funny)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about 4 years ago | (#32944242)

I'm 27, and I think it'd be great for the need to organ donors to no longer be needed in my lifetime. Not because being an organ donor is a bad thing, but simply because we found a better way of getting organs for those who need them.

I'm 4 years old, and I think it's would be neato if we could solve world hunger in my lifetime. Not because being skinny is a bad thing, but simply because we found a better way of distributing Oreos to those who need them.

I hope this comment was super helpful. Hey, what did you expect, I'm only 4 years old.

Re:Great thing (4, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about 4 years ago | (#32941386)

It's not just the tissue typing - which does have issues - but also the rejection thing. The anti-rejection drugs cause a lot of issues since by design they weaken the immune system.

Re:Great thing (2, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#32941484)

And, unfortunately, they aren't 100% effective at staving off rejection. A family friend's immune system just started demonstrating its ingratitude, with extreme prejudice, for his new heart. The doctors are hoping that they'll be able to tweak his drugs and get it to stop before serious damage occurs; but doing so without leaving you open to nasty infections and/or exotic cancers is apparently quite tricky.

Re:Great thing (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | about 4 years ago | (#32951094)

I think you do have a point though, there is a need for lung replacement therapy, and surgery...of which enphizema patients are top on the list...i saw the movie bicentennial man with robin williams, brilliant movie (although very long)
and could not wait for us to start ctaching up to the idea of synthetic organ replacement parts.

A synthetic heart of which beats on its own without batteries is the most needed one, as well as liver and kidneys,...

Great Progress (4, Insightful)

FalleStar (847778) | about 4 years ago | (#32941312)

It sounds like this is coming along nicely, this is some truly amazing work that's being done. Unfortunately I think the team is being incredibly optimistic thinking that this treatment might be being used on humans in 5 years. I have no ties to the medical field, but it seems that whenever I hear about an excellent but experimental procedure it ends up staying in the testing phase for a very long time, if not forever, before it's approved for regular use. Hopefully I am wrong.

taking one for the team (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32941316)

sucks to be that rat

Around the world... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32941328)

... rats who smoke are rejoicing.

Steve Jobs to medical team (0, Offtopic)

mutherhacker (638199) | about 4 years ago | (#32941332)

You're holding the cellular scaffolding wrong!

Re:Steve Jobs to medical team (1)

noidentity (188756) | about 4 years ago | (#32941452)

They just need to put it into a case, for example a rat body.

Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (-1, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 4 years ago | (#32941352)

Animal testing has never really worked. Animal tests proved penicillin deadly, strychnine safe and aspirin dangerous.

In fact, 90 percent of medications approved for human use after animal testing later proved ineffective or harmful to humans in clinical trials. It is humbling to realize that the flipping of a coin would have proved five times more accurate and much cheaper. Animal-tested drugs have killed, disabled or harmed millions of people and lead to costly delays as well. Among the most publicized are the delays of a polio vaccine by over three decades and a four-year delay in the use of protease inhibitors for HIV treatment - after animal testing showed these interventions to be useless.

We have spent billions of dollars to cure cancer in mice, but so far have failed to replicate human cancer in any animal, let alone close in on a cure. All but a very few diseases are species-unique, and the only efficient and effective way to discover cures and create vaccines is through the use of the same species cells, tissues and organs.

The use of animals as models for the development of human medications and disease almost always fails, simply because humans and animals have different physiologies.

As many as 115 million animals are experimented on and killed in laboratories in the U.S. every year. Much of the experimentation-including pumping chemicals into rats' stomachs, hacking muscle tissue from dogs' thighs, and putting baby monkeys in isolation chambers far from their mothers-is paid for by you, the American taxpayer and consumer, yet you can't visit a laboratory and see how the government has spent your money. You can't even get an accurate count on the number of animals killed every year because experimenters and the government have decided that mice and rats and certain other animals don't even have to be counted.

It's time to insist that they stop harming defenseless animals and wasting our precious health care dollars so they can get busy saving our lives by embracing technologies that work.

Animal experimentation is a multibillion-dollar industry fueled by massive public funding and involving a complex web of corporate, government, and university laboratories, cage and food manufacturers, and animal breeders, dealers, and transporters. The industry and its people profit because animals, who cannot defend themselves against abuse, are legally imprisoned and exploited.

Re:Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (4, Insightful)

pspahn (1175617) | about 4 years ago | (#32941392)

...and yet, without animal testing, you wouldn't have learned any of that.

Re:Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32941506)

the same could have been achieved using computer models and less suffering of animals. it may have taken longer, but at what cost do we need to achieve this? should we give up our humanity and compassion to achieve immortality?

Re:Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (4, Informative)

SlashBugs (1339813) | about 4 years ago | (#32941886)

Really, really, no. I've co-authored a paper on a stochastic model of a particular biological system, so I have some insight here. Think about weather forecasting: we have a firm understanding of the underlying physics, the environment isn't terribly complex (air and moisture of various temperatures, flowing over landmasses and seas, heated by the sun) and yet we're absolutely shit at it. We simply don't have enough information or processing power to build a decent model of this relatively simple but chaotic system and see where it's going to go.

Now scale this to a human cell. The environment inside a cell is enormously complex, containing millions of proteins, nucleic acid structures, lipids, carbohydrates, etc of many thousands of different types. For the vast majority of these, we have no idea what they do - no or incomplete guesses about their function, shape, charge distribution, stability, etc. or how any or all of this changes in response to pH, temperature, binding to one or more other proteins/carbs/lipids/etc.

Now scale this up from a cell to a section of tissue. We don't have a clear understanding of all the signals that cells send and receive between themselves, how they sense the extra-cellular environment and what their reactions might be. We have a huge amount of solid evidence, but we know that there's a lot going on that we can't currently detect or understand. Now scale up to a whole organ, a whole biochemistry, a whole patient...

Computer modelling is coming along, but a model of a system can only ever be as good as your understanding of that system. As the computer types, say: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Our understanding of biology is in a period of truly inspiring growth, but still woefully incomplete. The paper I worked on was a bit of a breakthrough in the techniques it used (it wasn't my breakthrough, I'm not a mathematician), but for the model itself we had to make some really ugly assumptions and omissions, and had to start with some very dubious input data.

Fantastic advances are being made and it's a tremendously important field of research, but it's limited by the progress of "proper" biology. I'd bet patients' lives on the weather forecast before I bet them on the current state-of-the-art biological computer models.

Re:Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (2, Interesting)

Fartypants (120104) | about 4 years ago | (#32943476)

The environment inside a cell is enormously complex, containing millions of proteins, nucleic acid structures, lipids, carbohydrates, etc of many thousands of different types.

Add to this the recent discovery [nytimes.com] that there are over one hundred species of bacteria populating the average healthy lung (over 2,000 microbes per square centimeter), and that people with asthma have different collection of microbes in their lungs than healthy people.

Re:Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944268)

At what cost? at the cost of humans having to suffer and die for a few more decades than if we were to use animal models. Your kind is useless to the human race, I think we should start using you, your family, and your relatives for the experiments.

Re:Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (1)

Krahar (1655029) | about 4 years ago | (#32958548)

Should we give up our humanity and compassion to achieve immortality?

I only wish I had that fantastic opportunity :(

Re:Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | about 4 years ago | (#32941530)

i'm against cruel animal testing - that rat didn't feel a thing so it's ok.

however, when our rat overlords from outerspace arrive and start doing animal testing on US, we better just STFU and take it as a "necessary evil"

Re:Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32950734)

As long it's only on the US, I'm fine with it :-)

Re:Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32944446)

Animal experiments do not predict human outcomes.

92% of drugs which pass animal experiments, FAIL in human beings.
Therefore animal experiments do not predict human outcomes.

ALL drugs and medical procedures which currently work in human beings, ONLY got to market because of HUMAN experiments, AKA 'clinical trials'.

If animal experiments predicted human outcomes, there would be no need for so-called 'clinical trials', would there? Drug companies wouldn't spend hundreds of millions of pounds on 'clinical trials' if animal experiments accurately predicted human outcomes, would they? They would just send the drugs STRAIGHT TO THE HUMAN MARKET. But they don't, because they would be sued for the astonishing 92% of drugs which would FAIL in human beings...

Re:Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (2, Funny)

Scatterplot (1031778) | about 4 years ago | (#32944988)

Yeah, they just test it on animals first 'cause they hate kittens.

Re:Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32946776)

Guess what? Human experiments also do not predict human outcomes.

Now how is that? There's still enough genetic diversity amongst humans that metabolic processes differ enough such that drugs can be processed differently by different people. So if you have 10% react badly during testing, you're denying 90% of the population a drug that would actually be beneficial and useful to them. (This is much in the same manner that I can eat and enjoy peanuts or shellfish with no adverse effects whatsoever, but give them to the wrong person and they're frothing at the mouth and in serious need of antihistamine shots or anti-seizure meds.) The way to get around this problem is to require genetic mapping and indexing during drug trials. Then before signing off on future prescriptions, there's a DNA test so you can match the right drug for a given problem with a specific person such that it minimizes or eliminates any negative reactions. If they do this right and can rework the law to reflect more recent knowledge, even some old (but currently banned) drugs may make it back onto the market.

But in the case of the article experiment, the animal analogue would actually apply to people. In fact it is more representative than how they currently do drug testing. This is because the animal had its own tissue grown externally and put back into the animal. Since it's a genetic match for itself, there's not going to be known substitution problems. They just do the trial run on animals since they don't have good enough lawyers. (nor does PETA)

Re:Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (5, Insightful)

SlashBugs (1339813) | about 4 years ago | (#32941826)

Animal testing has never really worked. Animal tests proved penicillin deadly, strychnine safe and aspirin dangerous.

In fact, 90 percent of medications approved for human use after animal testing later proved ineffective or harmful to humans in clinical trials. It is humbling to realize that the flipping of a coin would have proved five times more accurate and much cheaper.

Animal testing has never worked perfectly. I can't find citations for your claims about those three drugs, (although I happen to know that the first use of penicillin was in mice injected with staphylococcus - it saved the mice and led to a very rapid research programme that culminated in large-scale production and saving many thousands of soldiers' lives in WWII, and ultimately in all the antibiotics we rely on today) but I'll cheerfully concede that drug tests in animals can give misleading results. A lot of this is arguably because the results are misinterpreted, but there's no denying that our biology differs in various ways. Some of those differences are well-understood, others occasionally take us by surprise.

Your other point is an obvious statistical fallacy. It may be true that 90% of trials fail post animal testing. What's important to know is how many unnecessary trials of useless dugs have been prevented. Without animal testing, instead of 90% of human trials failing the number would be more like 99.999% failure. Even ignoring the astronomical costs of these trials (in terms of both money spent and extra lives lost while waiting for a cure), while some of these failures would be benign others would visit terrible side-effects on the volunteers.

Animal-tested drugs have killed, disabled or harmed millions of people and lead to costly delays as well.

Probably true. However, animal-tested drugs have also saved many, many more. Gigantic net benefit. As a side note, the eradication of smallpox directly killed thousands of people, through reaction to the vaccine (the earlier versions were less safe than the modern versions). But we still say it was a good thing, because it has saved many millions more. Like it or not, public health is a numbers game, where all we can do is shoot for the best net benefit.

We have spent billions of dollars to cure cancer in mice, but so far have failed to replicate human cancer in any animal, let alone close in on a cure. All but a very few diseases are species-unique, and the only efficient and effective way to discover cures and create vaccines is through the use of the same species cells, tissues and organs.

Cancer is, at best, a family of diseases, not a single disease. There is not and will never be a single "cure for cancer". There are, however, excellent treatments for certain kinds of cancer, many of which (chemodrugs and oncolyic viruses) could not exist without extensive work in animal models. Animal models teach us a huge amount about cancer development and progression, the tumour micro-environment, interactions with the immune system, the kinetics and diffusion properties of drugs, etc. You can join the argument that the data we get isn't perfect, but everyone involved already knows this. The counter-argument it that we have a choice between this and nothing at all. "Efficient" and "effecive" might be true if we had an unlimited supply of human tissues, organs and whole people to experiment with. Sadly, the ethics board in my university are all up-tight and like to see that *something* living can tolerate and show benefit from the treatment before we start injecting random chemicals into cancer patients. Killjoys, I know.

The use of animals as models for the development of human medications and disease almost always fails, simply because humans and animals have different physiologies.

Different in some ways, very, very similar in others. The trick is to work out which ones are which, and the people running multi-$million research institutions are often pretty smart. Not perfect, but this objection is something that has occurred to them and that they strive to take into account.

yet you can't visit a laboratory and see how the government has spent your money.

Largely because they're worried about the constant stream of protesters and/or random uninformed members of the public constantly disrupting and occasionally destroying the work in progress. A possible additional factor is that animal labs are generally run as quarrantine zones to prevent infections getting into the stocks. A stream of untrained people, even with the best of intentions, would make contamination rates skyrocket. For what I imagine are broadly similar reasons, there are all sorts of places I'm not allowed to go to monitor my tax spending... I can't turn up to inspect my local hospital, monitor my local school, play with the machines in my local air force base. Money-grabbing govt conspirators!

Animal experimentation is a multibillion-dollar industry fueled by massive public funding and involving a complex web of corporate, government, and university laboratories, cage and food manufacturers, and animal breeders, dealers, and transporters. The industry and its people profit because animals, who cannot defend themselves against abuse, are legally imprisoned and exploited.

Animal research is not perfect, and has never been claimed to be so. Even with all the strict regulations and procedures in place to minimise animal suffering (the propaganda from animal rights groups is generally decades out of date at best, deliberately misleading or lies at worst), it's ethically and emotionally troubling: everyone involved in it regards it as a necessary evil. But there's no question that, without it, improvements in our understanding of and treatment for disease would grind to a virtual halt. At the end of the day, you have to make a choice: animals or people. I've made my choice, and am willing to work on animal models in the hope that the fruits of my work will save human lives.

Re:Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (4, Insightful)

Krahar (1655029) | about 4 years ago | (#32941860)

In fact, 90 percent of medications approved for human use after animal testing later proved ineffective or harmful to humans in clinical trials. It is humbling to realize that the flipping of a coin would have proved five times more accurate and much cheaper.

I doubt the claim unless "harm" also refers to relatively harmless side effects in comparison to what the medicine is helping with, but let's suppose it's true. It still doesn't follow animal testing didn't help. It may be that most medications of any kind, animal tested or not, do have some side-effects and that number may have been larger than 90% without animal testing. Animal testing may also have uncovered some of the more severe side-effects, so with animal testing something like at the level of a runny nose may often be undetected or just plain accepted while without animal testing the test persons may drop dead more often.

Comparing animal testing to a coin based on a 90% figure doesn't work because then we have to assume that half of all medicines that are proposed are harmless and half are not. I see no reason to think that the base rates are like that - indeed, the idea that animal testing actively selects for harmful effects at a level far above chance is preposterous.

The actual problem with animal testing is as you point out not so much that it lets too many harmful medicines through, it's that it rules some medicines out that in fact would be beneficial to have available. That's a price we pay to have patients in early studies suffer less of a risk from the untested medicine.

It's clear that your real motivation to oppose animal testing is out of concern for the animals, and not in fact because of any scientific deficiencies with animal testing. If you doubt that, consider that you'd still be against it even if you believed that animal testing is as effective as the rest of the world believes. Right?

Re:Stop animal testing - cruel and ineffective (2, Insightful)

JoeRobe (207552) | about 4 years ago | (#32943594)

90 percent of medications approved for human use after animal testing later proved ineffective or harmful to humans in clinical trials. It is humbling to realize that the flipping of a coin would have proved five times more accurate and much cheaper.

Your logic there is way off. For every medication that has passed the lab animal testing phase, hundreds, if not thousands, have failed. Say you have 100 possible substances to treat diabetes. These 100 may be the result of a theoretical study of 10000 possible chemicals, most of which have been deemed harmful to humans on computer before ever even being created. Of the 100, maybe 3 of them will make their way through animal testing, and of those 3, one will become a viable drug. So if you had flipped a coin at the beginning of the lab testing, you would have 50 substances, of which none or at best one would be a viable drug, with the rest being either ineffective or harmful.

All but a very few diseases are species-unique, and the only efficient and effective way to discover cures and create vaccines is through the use of the same species cells, tissues and organs."

Many diseases are species-unique, which is why we always have to do human testing. However, mouse, monkey, and pig physiology shares many similarities with human physiology, enough that if a drug kills a mouse, we can be pretty sure it'll be harmful to humans.

It's time to insist that they stop harming defenseless animals and wasting our precious health care dollars so they can get busy saving our lives by embracing technologies that work.

I hear this from animal rights protesters all the time. Do you really think that the grad students and people making the drugs are just killing animals because they can? They're not heartless people who like seeing animals die - quite the contrary, they're typically really compassionate folks who realize that their research may save human lives. Keep in mind that animal testing costs money, and researchers pay for that testing using either private or public money which they have fought very hard to get. So they are not going to waste money on testing that they don't think will get them closer to a human-safe and effective drug.

Free papers (4, Insightful)

jprupp (697660) | about 4 years ago | (#32941370)

I thought scientists are a bunch of people usually very willing to share their knowledge for the wellbeing of mankind. I tended to think they were like open source people. But I've found that scientific papers on the Internet aren't normally available for free. That's sad.

Re:Free papers (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#32941462)

You've just met the publishers. Their friends say that they do a dirty but necessary job, like hangmen. Their opponents are less kind.

The actual scientists will usually have a copy floating around their website somewhere(for copyright reasons it will, of course, be a "preprint draft" not the "real thing" because the publishers generally own that; but the text is usually identical).

That's after they've fulfilled the "publish" side of "publish or perish", of course, the helpfulness or outright paranoia of scientists who have data they haven't gotten a paper out of yet varies widely...

Re:Free papers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32941494)

The majority of peer-reviewd scientific journals do require a subscription. Access to these journals has a cost not necessarily because of scientists' unwillingness to share their knowledge but rather because publishers need a source of income.

If you want to check out a particular scientist's work for free, you may want to see if that scientist has a research group website. Most scientists/professors at universities have some kind of website where they provide background for their research. You can sometimes even find some of their articles on their websites.

Also, if you happen to be attending a university, then it is possible that your institution has a subscription to journals such as Nature Medicine. It would then be a matter of contacting your university library to figure out how to get access.

Re:Free papers (4, Informative)

SlashBugs (1339813) | about 4 years ago | (#32941726)

Scientists would love for all of our papers to be open-access. Even ignoring the big ideological reasons (what's the point of discovering this stuff if we can't tell everyone?), our career progression is almost entirely dependent on people's recognition of our published work. We want as many people as possible to read, build on and cite our work, because that's how we build the reputations we need to get funding, jobs and groupies.*

The problem is that a big part of the way our publication record is assessed is whether our work was published in "high-tier" journals, i.e. the journals that print the most often cited (therefore deemed to be best quality) papers. These journals are almost all closed-access (Nature, Science, Cell, etc.). Worse, they demand that you transfer copyright over to them so you're forbidden from giving copies of your papers away.

A few larger organisations have managed to negotiate better terms. For example, work funded by various governments (most or all of the EU states, USA, etc) or big, influential charities (e.g. Cancer Research UK) can (and must) be released for free, generally at least six months after initial publication. This sort of negotiation is possible for influential funding bodies, who could otherwise insist that labs receiving funding boycott closed journals. However, an individual scientist can only try to fight the system by submitting their work to open-access journals. This is noble but, without work published in high-tier journals, they're really destroying their chances of getting ahead in a fiercely competitive funding and job market. A lot of scientists hate the current publishing system but, really, they have us by the balls.

*I can dream. Shut up.

Re:Free papers (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32946376)

After fourteen years of graduate school, Professor Farnsworth settled into the glamorous life of a scientist. Fast cars, hot nightclubs, beautiful women... the professor designed them all out of his one-bedroom apartment.

Re:Free papers (1)

janwedekind (778872) | about 4 years ago | (#32948476)

Yes. And furthermore somehow the journal rankings end up being done by those same publishers again. Open access journals often don't appear in their ranking tables at all. No ranking -> no rating -> no government funding.

Doubtful (1, Interesting)

kuzb (724081) | about 4 years ago | (#32941404)

It's always "in another 5 to 10 years" and then everyone forgets about it and nothing ever comes of it.

Re:Doubtful (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#32941466)

And yet, somehow, medicine has advanced considerably even within my (relatively short) lifetime.

It's like passing a construction site: Every day, it's just a bunch of heavy equipment shoving dirt from point A to point B and back, while guys in hardhats scurry assorted mysterious objects around. It doesn't look like progress at all; but stuff demonstrably gets built.

Now, the number of projects that actually make it into clinical use is certainly smaller than the number whose developers said 5 years ago that they would be seeing use; but it is a lot larger than zero.

Re:Doubtful (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | about 4 years ago | (#32941674)

Having more entrepreneurs looking into these "advances" in technology or scientific research and turning it practical use would certainly up the process of advances becoming mass-market. Information on research, clinical trials is public domain anyway, so it's just a matter of finding use for it, making an initial investement, take some risk, ?????? and make some cash. Also saves the government occasionally some effort in picking the reseatch it thinks is good for us ;-)

Re:Doubtful (4, Interesting)

vadim_t (324782) | about 4 years ago | (#32941540)

No, actually it does.

It's just that when it happens, it seems completely normal [slashdot.org] .

It seems you hear about breakthroughs when the promising research happens. You don't find out about the first company that puts it to work though, unless it's something really huge.

Re:Doubtful (4, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#32941576)

It's always "in another 5 to 10 years" and then everyone forgets about it and nothing ever comes of it.

Almost none of the exciting medical research projects you're talking about were "forgotten," what happened is they didn't pan out. Cancer drugs have worked in rats but not in humans, various treatments have had promising initial results on cells in a dish, and then in a whole animal they had unexpected side effects, refinements in efficiency and cost proved impossible, etc.

In the cases where you hear "5 to 10 years" and then nothing, one common scenario leading to that is that one of the researchers associated with the exciting project was asked when it might be useful on patients, which the researcher probably had no real idea since it would probably be another researcher or a whole different organization entirely to take it the next step. An honest answer in those cases would be "I have no idea, I hadn't really thought about it beyond there's nothing that I could do immediately and there are other more interesting projects I'll work on next, I'm basically done with this" He or she instead just said "Oh, maybe 5 to 10 years." Whoever he or she told that to liked the sound of that and thought it would make the news item/blog post/story more interesting and stated it as a specific prediction rather than just a random vague guess. And then whoever picked it up, another lab, another researcher in the same lab, a private company, found it didn't make the transition from petri dish to lab rat or lab rat to human clinical trials.

Also possible that the researcher was just trying to hype up his or her own research to get more funding.

Anyway, these projects haven't just been forgotten because we researchers have short memories, and those 5-10 year predictions weren't supposed to be or shouldn't have been promises.

Re:Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32941884)

I wouldn't think so in all honesty.
This area of research has blown up in speed recently.

5-10 years is a very good estimate, maybe closer to the end of that time.

Look at the success they have gotten with this. They just need to fix the leakage problems, other cell types in another few years, fix problems with that, bingo.
Of course i am being a little optimistic.
Mind you, this gives some people more reason to just torture their lungs with all sorts of crap without a care in the world, as long as they have the money to get a new lung sitting around.

Simple rule to use when they say "in 10 years" (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about 4 years ago | (#32942384)

Anytime I've seen anyone use the phrase "In 10 years" they usually meant to say "I don't know." If you keep that in mind you can easily translate what they say into english. Of course the phrase "In 20 years" means "I really don't know" and of course "In 50 years" means "I don't even know what I need to know to say I don't know."

Great biomedical engineering but... (1)

Grismar (840501) | about 4 years ago | (#32941412)

.. isn't it about time they ponied up the dough to register MyVideoConverter? (check the third video, with the implanted lung, it's got a message overlay)

Re:Great biomedical engineering but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32942430)

As you're making an issue of this - I decided to dig. I found references to ffmpeg in the main executable, and only in the main executable. Is MyVideoConverter in compliance with the license found here -> http://www.ffmpeg.org/legal.html [ffmpeg.org] ?

Practical use (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | about 4 years ago | (#32941704)

That's gonna make some tobacco producers and smokers happy... No actually, there are endless possibilities to this. Supposedly the theory behind this can be adapted to growing other organs - transcribe the right genes, give it some food, cash and a structure and grow yourself an eye! I wonder if this can be adapted to growing Bota bags [wikipedia.org] - these would sell particularly well in Spain during San Fermín.

This modern age (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 4 years ago | (#32942464)

It's absolutely wonderful to be a rat in this day and age of advanced medical technology!

5 or 10 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32943188)

*Everything* will fucking happen in 5 or 10 years. My flying car will be feasible in 5 or 10 years. A cure for cancer in 5 or 10 years. Affordable (!?) flights to orbit in 5 or 10 years. Do the research- Great. But please Shut The Fuck Up about "5 or 10 Years".

Yay! (0)

RazorSharp (1418697) | about 4 years ago | (#32945090)

I can start smoking again! Aside from the "it's bad for ya" aspect, tobacco is awesome.

New MUD command: transplantlung rat1 rat2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32945766)

Cool - now we can add a MUD command to transplant lungs between rats. Do I get a silver piece for that?

Repo men are coming (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | about 4 years ago | (#32949280)

Just make sure to choose a payment plan that fits your lifestyle.

... that long a wait? ... (1)

ninjagin (631183) | about 4 years ago | (#32951552)

Gee. 5-10 years is how long I have to wait for new battery technology.
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