A whole organ has been grown inside an animal for the first time

Fiona Macdonald - Monday 25th August

Read the full article here: http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20142508-26068.html

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have taken a group of cells from a mouse embryo and grown them into a fully functional thymus, an immune system organ, in an adult mouse. The thymus is an organ that’s found near the heart and produces T-cells, which fight infection and are critical to the immune system.

This is the first time a whole organ has been grown from scratch inside an animal, and the findings, which have been published in Nature Cell Biology, could pave the way for alternatives to organ transplants.

Clare Blackburn, a stem cell scientist at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh who was part of the research team, told James Gallagher, a journalist for BBC News: “This was a complete surprise to us, that we were really being able to generate a fully functional and fully organised organ starting with reprogrammed cells in really a very straightforward way. This is a very exciting advance and it's also very tantalising in terms of the wider field of regenerative medicine."