Scottish scientists successfully regenerate organ in mouse - could humans be next?
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/9/2014 (3 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 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for JANUARY 2018
Religious Minorities in Asia. That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practise their faith in full freedom.
A century after pandemic flu killed 100 million people around the world, another flu pandemic has blanketed the United States and is ... continue reading
Within the next 10-20 years, a new and controversial fertility technology called in vitro gametogenesis could make it possible to ... continue reading
An Australian man whose friends call him 'Dr. Death,' has invented a 3D printable suicide machine. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading
What does it feel like to die? This is a question that everyone has, but few people can answer. Now, a growing body of scientific and ... continue reading
In 2013, Beyonce Knowles topped GQ's list of "The 100 Hottest Women of the 21st Century." San Francisco, CA (CNA/EWTN News) - That same ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- North and South Korea agree to march together at the Olympics with ...
- St. Volusian: Saint of the Day for Thursday, January 18, 2018
- North and South Korea agree to march together at Olympics -- is that ...
- Daily Readings for Thursday, January 18, 2018
- Pope Francis in Chile: the beatitudes are sources of hope!
- President Trump declares 'Religious Freedom Day'
- Daily Reading for Friday, January 19th, 2018 HD Video
- CDC: Swine flu joining killer influenza outbreak, expected to become more severe HD
- Daily Reading for Thursday, January 18th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, January 17th, 2018 HD
- Twitter Ban: Censorship on "a way of talking" -- does that include Christian speech? HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way