Posted on Oct 02, 2014, 6 a.m.
Scientists have grown a fully functional organ from transplanted laboratory-created cells in a living animal for the first time.
Laboratory-grown replacement organs have moved a step closer, as MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom) researchers report that they have grown a fully functional organ from transplanted laboratory-created cells in a living animal for the first time. Clare Blackburn and colleagues have created a thymus – the organ that supplies the body with immune cells. Specialized thymus cells were created in the lab from a completely different cell type using a technique called reprogramming. The laboratory-created cells were transplanted onto a mouse kidney to form an organized and functional mini-thymus in a living animal. The study authors submit that they: “demonstrate that cellular reprogramming approaches can be used to generate an entire organ, and open the possibility of widespread use of thymus transplantation to boost immune function in patients.”
Bredenkamp N, Ulyanchenko S, O'Neill KE, Manley NR, Vaidya HJ, Blackburn CC. “An organized and functional thymus generated from FOXN1-reprogrammed fibroblasts.” Nat Cell Biol. 2014 Aug 24.