In the mid-90’s, the urban legend of kidney thieves was rampant. In New Orleans, Houston, Las Vegas… all over the world: the story of a guy waking up drugged , in a bathtub of ice, a surgical scar across the back…….. missing a kidney. No confirmed victims have ever come forward so we assume it as a myth.

But this isn’t:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323699704578328251335196648.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLE_Video_Top

“The development of lab-built body parts is being spurred by a shortage of organ donors amid rising demand for transplants. Also, unlike patients getting transplants, recipients of lab-built organs won’t have to take powerful anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives. That’s because the bioengineered organs are built with the patients’ own cells.

Until the late 1980s, few scientists believed it would be possible to make human organs because it was a struggle to grow human cells in the laboratory. The task became easier once scientists figured out the chemicals—known as growth factors—that the body itself uses to promote cellular growth.

Scientists started out growing simple organs. In 1999, Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., implanted lab-grown bladders into the first of several children with severely dysfunctional bladders. The organs have continued to function well for several years. Dr. Atala’s team now is trying to grow a whole range of bioengineered parts, from simple blood vessels to human livers.”