According to the latest news reports, Japanese scientists could receive backing to grow human organs in animals within the next year. A panel of government appointed experts have drafted a recommendation to help create new guidelines for Japan’s world-leading approach to embryonic research.
If anyone can recall the stem cell breakthrough article that was featured on The Inquisitr last year, this latest article could be seen as an update on how the science is progressing.
Although in other countries this would raise a warning flag and have many scientists on edge, in Japan the move to do this has widespread support.
Their drawn up plan consist of introducing human stem cells into the embryo of an animal, which many believe will be a pig once the recommendation is granted to create a “chimeric embryo” that can be implanted into the animal’s womb.
This in turn will then allow a human organ to grow inside the animal as it matures, which should mean that, by the time the animal is taken to slaughter, the organ can be harvested and then transplanted into a human.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Professor Hiromitsu Nakauchi, head of the centre for stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at the University of Tokyo, said that this move forward is an important stage in embryonic research and has taken over three years to achieve.
Currently, Japanese scientists can only develop the chimeric embryo in laboratory conditions for the total of 14 days because the embryo implantation is prohibited at this moment in time.
However, although the next stage of the process is currently covered in red tape, Prof. Nakauchi believes that, once the revised guidelines have been introduced, the turn-around time for human organ production should be quite quick. This is due to the fact that they have established the correct technique previously.
Although this is important news for science, it needs to be pointed out that the growth of a human heart and kidneys is a far more complicated feat than growing a human pancreas (which they intend to grow first, once they’ve been given permission).
Nonetheless, the growth of human organs in animals can be seen as a move in the right direction for more challenging organs to be created through the chimeric embryo technique. Especially when you consider how in-demand human organs are, as shown by the black market report that says that organ is sold every hour.
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