I'm not alone in thinking that the next decade will see an exponential increase in medical breakthroughs, and here's another potential: growing organs from stem cells.

SCIENTISTS have created a beating heart in the laboratory in a breakthrough that could allow doctors one day to make a range of organs for transplant almost from scratch.

The procedure involved stripping all the existing cells from a dead heart so that only the protein “skeleton” that created its shape was left.

Then the skeleton was seeded with live “progenitor” cells, which multiplied and grew back over it, eventually linking together into a new organ. Such cells are involved in the formative stages of specialised types of tissue such as those found in the heart. ...

The new technique was reported at the American Heart Association’s recent annual meeting in Orlando, Florida. “This is a proof of concept,” Taylor said. “Going forward, our goal is to use a patient’s stem cells to build a new heart.”

Like the last paragraph says, the researchers from the University of Minnesota think they will be able to grow organs from a patient's own stem cells -- yet another medical advance that won't require murdering babies for their embryonic stem cells.

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