Scottish scientists successfully regenerate organ in mouse - could humans be next?
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/9/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
A breakthrough which may pave the way for the technique to be used in humans has been uncovered by Scottish scientists. Researchers have been able to fully restore an organ in a living animal for the first time.
After the regeneration, the treated mice also started to make more T-cells, which is a type of white blood cell key to fighting infections.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The team have successfully rebuilt the thymus of "very old" mice by reactivating a natural mechanism that gets shut down with age. The thymus is an organ found in front of the heart.
The rebuilt thymus was not only similar in structure and genetic detail to one in a young mouse -- but was also able to function again.
After the regeneration, the treated mice also started to make more T-cells, which is a type of white blood cell key to fighting infections. It must be noted that the regenerated thymus was more than twice the size of the aged organs in the untreated mice.
"By targeting a single protein, we have been able to almost completely reverse age-related shrinking of the thymus," Clare Blackburn from Edinburgh's Medical Research Council (MRC) Center for Regenerative Medicine said. Blackburn also led the research.
"Our results suggest that targeting the same pathway in humans may improve thymus function and therefore boost immunity in elderly patients, or those with a suppressed immune system."
While the treated mice were making T-cells, Blackburn's research team could not yet establish whether the immune systems of the older mice were strengthened.
Before the technique can be tested in humans, Black burn says, researchers will need to conduct more animal experiments to make sure the regeneration process can be tightly controlled.
The thymus is the first organ to deteriorate as people age. This phenomenon causes the immune system to become less effective. As we grow older, we lose the ability to fight off new infections, such as flu.
Regenerative medicine is a fast-growing area of research and is chiefly focused on stem cells. One of the central aims is to harness the body's own repair mechanisms and manipulate them in a controlled way to treat disease.
Blackburn's team says that they targeted a part of the process by which the thymus degenerates, which is a protein called FOXN1 that helps control how key genes in the thymus are switched on.
The stem was then used genetically modified mice to enable them to increase levels of this protein using chemical signals.
Researchers managed to instruct immature cells in the thymus, which are similar to stem cells to rebuild the organ in the older mice.
Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for FEBRUARY 2017
Comfort for the Afflicted. That all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our communities.
California could REBEL against Obama AND Trump and build its own single payer system, but who will pay for it? Watch
California is a large, wealthy state dominated by Democrats. Its economy, even if a bad year, is among the top ten in the world. The state ... continue reading
After ten years, a 60-person medical team, and a 56-hour surgery, 31-year-old Andy Sandness received the first steps into truly getting his ... continue reading
"God doesn't ask us to be super-heroes," assured Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on February 11, 2017, the 25th World Day of the Sick. ... continue reading
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday spoke about the situations of "light and shadow" in the healthcare sector, thanking God for ... continue reading
Researchers have uncovered the grave of an unusual leprosy patient from medieval England. His bones tell a story that could help rewrite ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Who do YOU answer to? Californians prepare safe houses for illegal ...
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 HD Video
- Oarfish strandings in Philippines could mean massive quake coming HD ...
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, February 28, 2017
- St. Hilary, Pope: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, February 28, 2017
- Priest shares Living Rosary on Mardi Gras to bring people back to God
- Here are the answers to the Ash Wednesday quiz. How did you do?
- Pope Francis makes history by celebrating Christ alongside an Anglican Bishop HD
- St. Dominic Savio HD
- Clinton contributor makes revealing 'life insurance' video over fear of assassination HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, February 28th, 2017 HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.