Guardian: British scientists make biomedical breakthrough
Reprogrammed stem cells have been used to build a complete, working organ in a living animal for the first time. Carried out on a laboratory mouse, researchers were able to produce a working thymus, an organ crucial to the immune system located near the heart.
The team leader, Professor Clare Blackburn from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said: “The ability to grow replacement organs from cells in the lab is one of the ‘holy grails’ in regenerative medicine. But the size and complexity of lab-grown organs has so far been limited.”
Dr Paolo de Coppi, consultant paediatric surgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital and head of Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at the Institute of Child Health, London, said: “Research such as this demonstrates that organ engineering could, in the future, be a substitute for transplantation, overcoming problems such as organ donor shortages and by-passing the need for immunosuppressive therapy.
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