Scientists Have Managed to Grow the First Organ in the Lab
For the first time in the history scientists have found the way to grow a fully functional organ by transplanting laboratory-created cell in a living animal. This is a huge step in the development of laboratory created transplantation organs.
Researches from the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, at the University of Edinburgh reprogrammed fibroblasts into thymus cells – and after transplantation into the mice these cells formed an organ that was similar to healthy native adult one.
What impact will it have in the future? The researchers believe that these lab-made cells could form the basis of a thymus transplant treatment for people with a weakened immune system. Also they will help to produce T cells that will match the requirements of the patient.
The thymus produces T cells that are essential for the immune system as they scan the threats and coordinate response to harmful cells or pathogens. People whose thymus can’t operate properly are very vulnerable to infections. And proper work of thymus is vital for patients who need a bone marrow transplant as it rebuilds the immune system. In the UK one in 4,00 babies is born with malfunctioning or absent thymus and nowadays they are treated with infusions of extra immune cells or a transplantation of a thymus after birth, however, the possibility of finding matching donor is extremely low.
Till now researchers were able to create just distinct cell types in a dish, however, they weren’t able to create intact organ from lab-made cells.
According to Professor Clare Blackburn from the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, the leading researcher of the thymus cells reprogramming, the ability of growing replacement organs from lab-made cells is one of the ‘holy grails’ in regenerative medicine.