Scientists at Edinburgh University have made a major medical breakthrough, creating the first ever completely functional organ in a living animal.
Using cells developed in a laboratory, the research team in Scotland has been able to develop a thymus – a crucial part of the immune system – in mice, BBC reports.
The thymus is an organ located close to the heart and produces T-cells which fight infection.
Professor Clare Blackburn, of the research team, says the scientific process involved genetically reprogramming cells.
“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,” she said.
The findings – published in Nature Cell Biology – has been earmarked as a revolutionary advancement in organ transplantation research, however experts say we’re still years away from human transplants.
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