Headline Feb 08, 2016/ ''' MASTER SCIENTIST : DR. ANTHONY ATALA '''



IN 1997,  -WHEN HE  was thirty-eight and working at Harvard, Anthony Atala created the world's first tissue  -engineered organ. He built it by hand.

He took a stamp-sized biopsy of a healthy cells from a little boy's broken bladder. He put them into a Petri dish and fed the cells with proteins and nutrients until they mistook the petri dish for the human body and began multiplying and dividing as if  still in the womb.

He painted the new cells into a biodegradable collagen  balloon. A few weeks later, he sewed that  cell-coated balloon  -which had grown to become a new bladder  -into the boy.

Today that boy and many others who received the same operation are healthy college students.  

Dr. Anthony Atala   -started making  organs  before  Embryonic Stem Cells were discovered.  *And wants nothing less than the eradication of all chronic disease.*

 ONE DAY, WHEN YOU ARE ILL, when your heart finally beats a thousand times too many,  when your liver is sclerotic beyond use, when your pancreas stops producing insulin, when your kidneys no longer protect you from toxins, *Dr. Anthony Atala wants to heal you*.

In his vision, you will visit a hospital in Omaha or San Francisco or Buffalo, and a specialist will diagnose you. 

Then you'll have blood taken to determine your genetic makeup, and then those results will be transmitted to an office manager in charge of a sterile white room in North Carolina that Atala has built.

In a few days a small vial of stem cells that match your immunological profile perfectly will be extracted from a cryogenic tank in that room and shipped to your surgeon, who will use them *to build a new organ from a scratch*.

*It will take four to eight weeks to build and grow and implant the organ, and then you will be whole once again.*
This is not a new dream.

Ever since human embryonic stem cells were first harvested and maintained outside the body in 1998,  scientists and  surgeons and politicians and patients have conjured up different versions of this dream.

But in fifteen years,  embryonic stem cells have yielded no major clinical advancements or treatments, let alone  made-to-order organs.

You can blame scientists for over promising or fervent ideologues for halting research or private companies for strangling research with patents or the FDA for building clinical barriers too high.
Or you can ask Anthony Atala what he plans to do about it.

NEARLY EVERY SCIENTIST WHO TALKS ABOUT Anthony Atala describes him the same way:
*Visionary. Created a field. Architect of tissue engineering*. 

This morning, the visionary accelerates his gold Honda Pilot in fits, misses turns, then accelerate again. The car has a huge crack down the windshield, which he hasn't had a moment to fix, and there are Taco Bell crumbs in the in the backseat left over from his two sons.

He's up by 4:30 A.M. or earlier seven days a week, sending e-mails about grants and research. Then he mashes the pedal in morning darkness to the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, where he is the chair of the urology department.

He still operates one day a week, six pediatric patients in a row, their parents waiting anxiously in the waiting room as he cuts into their tiny torsos and repairs hernias and torsions and worse.

The three hundred biologists and physiologists and engineers and chemists he oversees at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine watch as he torpedoes through the hallways from meeting to phone call to meeting, his high-pitched cackling laugh the only indication of where he is or in which direction he's moving.

He is fifty-four and has a slightly shaggy head of a wavy black hair that makes his perpetual grin and full cheeks even more boyish.
''We should start,'' Atala says. ''I have a call. Not sure with who, but we should start. Let's go. Let's go.'' He doesn't say this in a gruff way, but with a disarming laugh. As in, Can you believe how crazy this is?

And it is crazy. He's crazy. By their oath, doctors fix and they heal, but they have up to now not created. 

What Atala and his tissues regenerators do and seek to do is, quite simply, in another realm of science and understanding altogether, born of the genius decoded from our own cells.

''I use this term with the greatest respect   -[he's]  an kind of a modern Dr. Frankenstein,'' says  Edward Tenthoff, a biotech analyst at Piper Jaffray who's closely followed Atala's career. ''He is truly a visionary in his view of where he's taking the science.''

A couple of years later, working with scientists at Advanced Cell Technology, he created the world's first cloned organs, mini bovine kidneys that pulled toxins from the bloodstream of the cows in which they were implanted.

In 2007, when he realized that what was truly holding these engineering back were better, more reliable cellular building materials that could be sewn into patients with out the problem of immunological rejection, he discovered an entirely new class of stem cells in amniotic fluid.The discovery made the front pages of newspapers the world over.

That child in London who received an artificial windpipe last year that will grow with him? A protege of Atala's helped build it. The Urologist in Los Angeles who is injecting stem cells directly into kidneys to keep people off dialysis? He trained in Atala's lab.

Dr. Anthony Atala has built blood vessels.

These are tubular and involve two types of cells, those on the interior that control fluid and those on the exterior that contract.

But he figured out a way to built both using a machine that sprays collagen over a spinning rod to form a tubular scaffold. Then the cells are dripped on with a pipette, by hand. The vessels contract, blood and oxygen are ferried through the body.

Dr. Anthony Atala has also built skin. ''Simply, Remarkable Work, Sir!'' 

The Honour and Serving of  ''Advance Operational Medical  Engineering Research''  continues. Thank you for reading and do share forward with all the medical students in the world.

With respectful dedication to all the Scientists, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society:

'''' The Power To Create '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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