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LONDON (AP) -- Two new studies describe the latest achievements in growing body parts in a lab and transplanting them into people, this time with nostrils and vaginas.

Windpipes, bladders, blood vessels and other structures have previously been created in part from a patient's own cells and then implanted. Eventually, scientists hope to tackle more complicated things like lungs and kidneys with this strategy, which is aimed at avoiding rejection of transplanted organs.

The latest experiments were published online Friday in the journal Lancet.

"They both show that by using fairly simple tissue engineering techniques, you can get real tissue forming where it's supposed to," said Dr. Martin Birchall, of The Ear Institute at University College London, who co-authored an accompanying commentary. He said the simple methods could be useful for making other body parts, including joint cartilage, bowels and the esophagus.

One experiment involved four teenage girls in Mexico who were born without vaginas because of a rare disorder. Currently, surgeons use tissue grafts to create vaginas for such patients, but that method carries a risk of complications.

The experimental results were reported by Dr. Anthony Atala of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with researchers there and at the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City. Atala said the procedure might also prove useful for replacing vaginas removed because of cancer, and repairing or replacing the organ after an injury.

For the experiment, researchers took a tissue sample less than half the size of a postage stamp from the patients' genitals. They multiplied cells from this tissue in the lab, seeded them onto a biodegradable scaffold and molded it into the right size and shape for each patient before implantation.

The first surgery was done in 2005, and the Lancet report provides a follow-up of the patients for an average of nearly seven years. The women report normal levels of sexual functioning, without any long-term complications. It is not known whether the women could get pregnant; only two have wombs, Atala said.

One of the women, in a video provided by the Mexican university, said she felt fortunate "because I have a normal life." The university didn't identify the woman.

In the other experiment, Swiss scientists built new outer nostrils for five patients who had skin cancer on their noses. When surgeons removed the tumor, they also took a tiny bit of nose cartilage. They grew the cells for four weeks in the lab to make a small flap. That was then implanted onto their nose and covered with skin from their foreheads. Normally, cartilage is taken from the patient's ear or ribs to recreate the nostril.

Ivan Martin of University Hospital Basel, the study's senior author, said none of the patients reported any side effects by one year after surgery, and all were satisfied with their new nostrils.

"Now that we have demonstrated this is safe and feasible, we can use (this technique) for more complicated clinical needs," he said, adding that the same approach is being tested in people to supply knee cartilage. He said scientists were slowly gaining more expertise in making body parts, but predicted it could take another couple of decades before the process becomes mainstream.

"It's not a trivial thing to engineer a functional tissue," he said.

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Malcolm Ritter reported from New York.

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Online:

WWW.LANCET.COM

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Bissinger's Recalls Dark Chocolate Bunny Ears

Friday, 11 April 2014 07:32 Published in Local News
St. Louis, MO  -- Karl Bissinger LLC announced a recall of its Bissinger’s Dark Chocolate Bunny Ears on Thursday because one lot was mislabeled and contains undeclared milk. 
People who have a severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of a serious or life threatening reaction if they consume this product. 
 
This product is labeled as: Bissinger’s Dark Chocolate Bunny Ears are packaged in a clear film with an ingredient card. Lot Code: 4981 Best By FEB 2015 UPC: 846107009795 
 
The product was distributed to retailers and wholesalers nationwide from January 28, 2014 through April 4, 2014. Those who have received this are asked to destroy product and report affected quantities to Bissinger’s for a full refund. 
 
No adverse reactions have been reported to date for a milk allergen in association with 
this product. 
 
The recall was initiated after a customer discovered milk chocolate products in the dark 
chocolate product packaging. The dark chocolate labels do not list milk as an ingredient. 
 
Bissinger’s regrets any inconvenience this may cause and customers may call 800-325-
8881, Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm CDT to discuss questions or concerns. 
 

Grant's Farm Turns 60

Friday, 11 April 2014 06:52 Published in Local News
AFFTON, Mo. (AP) - One of the St. Louis area's most popular attractions is celebrating a milestone.
 
Grant's Farm opens for its 60th season on Saturday. The sprawling facility in south St. Louis County is operated by Anheuser-Busch and is home to some of the Budweiser Clydesdales. It features wild animals, tram rides, baby goat feeding and other activities and draws about a half-million visitors each year.
 
New for this year will be paddle boat rides on Mirror Lake and a parakeet feeding experience. Grant's Farm also plans to offer "surprises" on 60 days. All will be promoted on the attraction's Facebook page starting May 5.
 
There is no fee to tour Grant's Farm. Parking is $12 per car and $30 for buses, RVs and oversized vehicles.

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