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Researchers Take One Step Closer in Re-Growing Personalized Organs

Apr 05, 2016 09:18 AM EDT
Comparison of natural and iPS-derived tissue
This illustration shows a comparison of natural and iPS-derived tissue.
(Photo : RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology [])

Researchers are getting closer to making artificial personalized organs as they succeeded in developing an artificial skin--complete with real skin functions, such as hair growth, sweat production and protective oil secretion.

"We are coming ever closer to the dream of being able to recreate actual organs in the lab for transplantation," said lead author Takashi Tsuji of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in a statement.

According to the study published in the journal Science Advances, researchers took cells from the gums of a mouse and used chemicals to craft stem cell-like iPS cells.

iPS Cells, or induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, according to the National Institute of Health, are adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state.

The crafted cells are placed on a culture where it successfully developed into an embryoid body (EB).

The EB is a three-dimensional clump of cells that partially resembles a developing embryo in an actual body.

The researchers injected multiple EBs into hairless mice with suppressed immune system.

The transplanted cells gradually changed into differentiated tissue. The researchers then transplanted the differentiated tissue out of the mice and implanted it to the skin tissue other mice.

The implanted tissue developed normally as integumentary tissue, the tissue responsible for much of the skin functions, in terms of hair shaft eruption and fat excretion.

The researchers also discovered that the nerve and muscle tissues surrounding the implanted tissue have made connection with the artificial skin..

Despite this breakthrough, there are still problems that need to be addressed by the researchers, according to a PerfScience report.

One of the concerns during the study is the inability of the implanted stem cells to make nerve fibers, which can be a problem for patients suffering from severe nerve damage.

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