Artificial vaginas and nasal passages have been grown in a laboratory, and the organs are fully functional. Four young women received the new vaginas and five pairs of nostrils were implanted in patients recovering from skin cancer.  

Nasal surgery took place on two women and three men, aged 76 to 88 years old. Six months after the surgeries, the artificial tissues began growing fatty structures typical of natural systems. 

"After [one] year, all patients were satisfied with the aesthetic and functional outcomes and no adverse events had been recorded," researchers wrote in the article announcing their trials.

Laboratory-grown vaginas were also implanted in five women suffering from Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKHS), a rare genetic disorder that causes some girls to be born without a normal organ. 

Artificial organs were grown from cells taken from the intended recipient in each study. Samples of cells were taken from each patient, and allowed to culture. 

"The organs were constructed and allowed to mature in an incubator in a facility approved for human-tissue manufacturing," researchers wrote in the article accompanying their study. 

Cells cultured from a sample taken from the young women were layered on a safe, degradable mold to assist in proper growth. This structure was surgically put in place, and the cells grew normally. 

After the vaginal replacements, patients were regularly given physical exams, and provided with a self-assessment of sexual functions. Women receiving the implants experienced normal sensations and responses with their new organ within six months after surgery. Follow-up studies followed the nasal patients for more than a year, and the recipients of the new vaginas for eight years, to be certain there were no complications. 

Nasal replacement used similar methods, including the use of a temporary scaffold to guide development of the cells. 

Artificial organs are now becoming more common, as several other body parts have already been created in laboratory conditions. Researchers have previously created windpipes, urethras, and bladders. Laboratory-grown organs may soon be able to provide replacement parts for those suffering from cancer or injured veterans returning from war. 

Funding for the vaginal replacements was provided by Wake Forest University and the Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez. Nasal passage formation and implantation was funded by the Department of Surgery at the University Hospital Basel and the Krebsliga beider Basel in Switzerland.

More studies will be need before this process is considered safe, but the first rounds of testing look promising. 

Results of the tissue engineering breakthroughs producing functional nostrils and vaginas were published in a pair of articles in the journal Lancet.

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