#5. Functioning Organs Made From Stem Cells
Researchers around the world are using stem cells to grow the precursors to replacement tissues and organs. 2013 saw impressive breakthroughs in a couple of these research projects.
In Japan, cell biologists reprogrammed skin cells into stem cells, from which they generated functional mini livers called liver buds.
In Austria, neuroscientists developed brain organoids — cell formations that mimic regions of the brain — from both embryonic stem cells and from reprogrammed adult cells.
And in Oregon, researchers perfected a new way of creating stem cells from adult cells, by transferring the nucleus of a skin cell into an egg and then coaxing it to develop. These could be valuable future therapeutics, since replacement tissues made from them shouldn't trigger immune system rejection.
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IMBA/Madeline A. Lancaster