Doctors Have Regenerated a Living Organ for the First Time, Soon We’ll All Be Time Lords (Probably Not)
Yeah, but can they do it more than 12 times?
Score one for science! A team from the University of Edinburgh has regenerated living thymus organs in mice — that’s the first time a living organ has been regenerated. Ever. It’s an exciting development that could have huge potential for medical science in the future. Allons-y!
The team at Edinburgh rebuilt a mouse thymus, an organ located near the heart that turns thymocytes into different types of T cells. It’s important for the immune system. It also shrinks dramatically as you age, making us more susceptible to disease and infection when we’re old than when we’re young.
The Edinburgh team, led by Clare Blackburn, identified the FOXN1 protein created in the thymus. The protein controls how certain genes are “switched on,” and by increasing FOXN1 levels, Blackburn and her colleagues gave the signal to cells to rebuild the thymus in older mice. Once regenerated the old mice’s thymus resembled the structure of the same organ found in younger mice.
With further study the method could be applied to help people who suffer from weakened immune systems, and even genetic disorders like DiGeorge syndrome which prevents the thymus from ever developing properly.
Now let’s get to work on that binary vascular system.