Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine

Whole Organ Grown In Animal For First Time 77

Posted by samzenpus
from the inside-job dept.
An anonymous reader writes British scientists have produced the first working organ grown from scratch in a living animal. Reprogrammed cells created in a lab were used in a mouse to produce a thymus. The organ was created using connective tissue cells from a mouse embryo and were converted into a different cell strain by changing a genetic switch in their DNA. The resulting cells grew into the whole organ after being injected. It has only been tested on mice so far, but researchers at Edinburgh University say that within a decade the procedure could be effective and safe enough for humans. The findings were published in Nature Cell Biology.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Whole Organ Grown In Animal For First Time

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just saying... ;)

  • Prior art (Score:5, Funny)

    by kruach aum (1934852) on Monday August 25, 2014 @04:27PM (#47751163)

    I have been growing whole, working organs in my own body since at least 1984.

    • Longer, if you think about it. Before you were distinct from your mother, you were a parasite within her. Before that, you were an egg cell in her ovaries. She was born with the egg that later became you intact, so you are as old as your mother is. But what is true for you is true for her; she is as old as her mother. You are as old as your grandmother. You are as old as the predecessors of humanity. You are an ancient entity that has periodically (no pun intended) remade itself based on external genetic ma

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Ironically, I've been growing one in his mother for a decade.

      • by metrix007 (200091)

        No individual was ever an egg. The earliest the individual could said to be formed is at the zygote stage.

        • What do you think went into the zygote? No eggs, or more than one egg?
        • Re:Prior art (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Your.Master (1088569) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @03:36AM (#47754613)

          That's not really clear in any sense.

          It comes down to the definition of "individual". The zygote is the first case where you are genetically complete at probably 99.99+% of the same genes you have as an adult. But are you your genes?

          Can a zygote truly be referred to as an individual? If so, why can't an egg? Is your definition of "individual" a clump of cells that share the same gene sequences? If so, then are twins two individuals? Why or why not?

          We have an intuitive notion of what these things mean and it works after a baby is born and it gets weirder the earlier you go.

      • by tsa (15680)

        That is actually a pretty cool philosophy. Thanks!

    • by vux984 (928602)

      I have been growing whole, working organs in my own body since at least 1984.

      pfft... one set for personal use? Nearly all of us can do that. Even my cat managed it. Call me when you can grow something on demand. :)

    • > I have been growing whole, working organs in my own body since at least 1984.

      "Whole, working organs growing in your mom 9 months earlier" jokes in 3..2..1..

    • by antdude (79039)

      So, you're 30 years old. ;)

  • This is great news.
    Soon we can get all our parts replaced as needed. Or even ahead of time. Have an extra heart put in now! :)

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I would think that the replacement surgery would still come with some risks. Best not to undergo a transplant just because organs are available. Although It would be interesting if how this would play into sports competitions. Get a larger/stronger heart or larger lungs inserted into your chest in order to increase your physical abilities. You can't do this now because there's no way you would get on the donor list if there wasn't something wrong with your organs to begin with. But if organs could be cre
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I would think that the replacement surgery would still come with some risks.

        The surgery will come with risks, but the organ rejection won't be one of them. Get some of your cells scraped out and have a batch of essential organs grown for you.

        Family history of heart attack? Start a couple spare hearts.
        Drinking problem? A spare liver-mass to cut donations off of and a couple backup kidneys.
        Afraid of diabetes? Get a spare pancreas ready in case the one you're using breaks down.
        Former smoker? Fresh, unspoiled lungs, just wait for them to grow.

        Other, more recreational demands? Fee

    • Re:Sweet. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Fwipp (1473271) on Monday August 25, 2014 @05:06PM (#47751571)

      It'd be really nice for people who were born without the organs in question. First it'll probably be for people with a straight-forward birth defect, but eventually, this could possibly grow gonads for trans people, allowing their bodies to produce their own hormones. I'd be pretty excited if I could eventually stop taking synthetic estrogens.

    • Re:Sweet. (Score:5, Informative)

      by gurps_npc (621217) on Monday August 25, 2014 @05:06PM (#47751573) Homepage
      Actually, that's exactly how they do kidney transplants. They don't bother cutting out your failed kidney - that would just lead to more bleeding and possible complications.

      So instead they just give you a third kidney that hopefully works a lot better than the two original ones that failed.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Monday August 25, 2014 @04:39PM (#47751279) Homepage

    This means the developing thymus would not be a tissue match for the patient.

    It would seem like organs grown in animals would contain animal proteins and cell receptors. I wonder how they get around that in the patient ready organs? Freaking amazing. Not quite as amazing if the recipient has to live on anti-rejection drugs the rest of their lives, but still impressive.

    Researchers also need to be sure that the transplant cells do not pose a cancer risk by growing uncontrollably.

    Slight problem there.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      An organ grown in an animal would be an animal organ - sure. Which is why you would grow a new organ inside the patient instead. That way, it'd be his own organ - a perfect match. Lost your kidneys to poisoning? Grow new ones. Have surgery that hook the new ones up to the right places, and live normally thereafter . . .

      • by alexander_686 (957440) on Monday August 25, 2014 @05:47PM (#47751917)

        Maybe not.

        One could grow organs inside a person's body or in a tube, but there are issues about blood supply, proper growth, etc. A possible solution would be to grow human organs in animal hosts. Transgenic pigs are often cited as a possible choice. They are about the right size for many organs and their immune system should be able to be tweaked so as not to reject the foreign tissue. Of course, this approach has other technical hurdles to overcome. I am not willing to bet on what the answer will be.

        Still in the realm of science fiction but we are getting closer every day.

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Monday August 25, 2014 @04:52PM (#47751437) Homepage Journal

      Well, almost certainly in the test mice they debilitated the immune system so they could prove the theory.

      You know how medical science is. All of these stages are repeated multiple times when relevant.
      First you prove basic mechanism in a pure environment.
      Then you prove it works in animal models.
      Then you prove it's reliably safe in animal models.
      Then you prove it doesn't immediately kill people in small controlled clinical trials, with high risk patients.
      Then you demonstrate that it's more effective than the current treatment under specific circumstances in double blind clinical trials.
      Congratulations, you're now a legitimate "experimental treatement".

      • Indeed. There is no malpractice worry from the animal study(ies).

        I think they trick the test subjects into signing a EULA-like rights waiver.

    • by Jarik C-Bol (894741) on Monday August 25, 2014 @04:53PM (#47751449)
      You missed the entire point of the project.
      The idea is not to grow new organs in animals for transplant into people, but to develop the means to inject a 'starter kit' of cells into the patient, and have the patient grow a new organ right in their own body.
      So, for someone missing a lung to cancer, or a kidney, or a thymus, (apparently this is what they grew in the test) maybe a spleen, those things you can live without for a bit, (aided by modern medicine obviously) while your body manufactures a new one using their starter kit of cells. I suppose, now that I think about it, they might even be able to eventually grow you a new heart while your body ran on an artificial heart for a bit. The end goal here is to end the need for transplants by being able to force the body to build a new part from scratch. They pointed out that, at this stage, the technique still has the risk of rejection by the body, because it starts with fetal cells (they did this in mice by the way) but their goal is to eventually produce the same results using cells from the end host, so there is no rejection issues.
      • by dasunt (249686)

        I suppose, now that I think about it, they might even be able to eventually grow you a new heart while your body ran on an artificial heart for a bit.

        Would you need an artificial heart? Could it be possible to grow another heart somewhere else in the body?

        As the new organ matures, then it could be transplanted to replace the existing one.

      • I have a genetic, degenerative kidney disease. My kidneys slowly get worse and worse over decades. An injection that grows me a new kidney with my own genes would be close to magic for me, despite approximately knowing how it works.
        Even if the new kidney had the same genetic damage as the current two, if I replaced them in 10 years I will then be able to use them for at least 30 years. Then I'll be 70 years old so another one would probably last me the rest of my life.

        This is exiting research for me.

    • And that's where this comes in [wimp.com]. (skip to 6:45)

      The idea is that you use the animal to actually grow the organ (such as an ape or large monkey), then you get rid of the animal-specific cells using the solution in the video and put the patient's cells on the organ letting them grow making it the patient's organ, effectively. The animal is just there to grow the base protein structure for the patient's cells to grow from. Then, using scanning technology, you can check the organ for defects before actually putti

  • "No... just, you know, growing a new liver and heart in mah belly"

  • Hope it was a Hammond B3. Love them.
  • ... I need a new piano.

  • Things like this is why I despise all the quacks that vilify the medical profession.

    Homeopathy does not cure people, doctors do.

    Anti-Vaxers don't end Autism, doctors will.

    And some day soon, we will be able to grow replacement Thalmuses, hopefully with kidneys, livers, hearts and lungs soon to follow.

    God bless real doctors, for they deliver miracles onto us.

    • by geek (5680)

      Things like this is why I despise all the quacks that vilify the medical profession.

      Homeopathy does not cure people, doctors do.

      Careful throwing around that word "cure" because doctors actually "cure" very little. They "treat" a great deal however.

      Anti-Vaxers don't end Autism, doctors will.

      How can you be sure of this? They dont even know for sure what causes it.

      And some day soon, we will be able to grow replacement Thalmuses, hopefully with kidneys, livers, hearts and lungs soon to follow.

      You jump to this conclusion from one article related to a mouse? You're far to willing to buy into this. When/if it gets to human trials then you can start making these types of claims.

      God bless real doctors, for they deliver miracles onto us.

      No they deliver science and medicine. Look up the word miracle. You're using it wrong.

      • by gurps_npc (621217)
        You can use the word miracle the way you want to. For me, and a whole bunch of other people, this is exactly what we mean by the word miracle.

        See "Miracle drug", also the "miracle of birth", and a bunch of other people.

        The rest of your arguments are similarly focused on one peculiar and particular point of view.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Because anti-vaxxers don't actual do anything with science, Doctors do. And we get closer to finding the cause all the time.
        "You jump to this conclusion from one article related to a mouse? "
        Since we have people with grown parts in their body right now, it's not that far of a leap.
        Yes, more testing is required for this method.
        The posters point is science works, magically thinking does not.

      • Anti-Vaxers don't end Autism, doctors will.

        How can you be sure of this? They dont even know for sure what causes it.

        While I can't be sure, doctors have a far better chance to cure it than the anti-vaxxers.

  • This will be a brilliant investing opportunity when the technology comes to age, whether "having your own grown to sell" or simply "investing in the company."

  • the first toccata.

  • That our "leaders" will finally get the brains they need so desperately?

  • I'm starting to get irritated with press releases like this. I'm seeing all these breakthroughs in medicine, but it's only for mice. The latest of these that got my goat was an every-other-day injection that turns off type-2 diabetes. Instead of monitoring blood sugar and calculating insulin doses, a diabetic would inject this stuff every other day and insulin resistance would be gone and the body would be once again able to regulate itself.

  • I'm not going to be impressed until I hear somebody play Jerusalem on it...with reverb.

  • ,,,next week they're growing a piano in an ear of corn.

  • ... growing whole humans inside a human body - THAT would impress me.
  • Well ... not the *first* time.

  • Animals have had whole organs growing in them for years!

FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies.

Working...