There are so many medical conditions that would require an organ transplant just for the person to survive. Unfortunately, organ donors are hard to get by and there are plenty of people that would require those organs as soon as possible.
In this article, I will go over some stories of triumph in the medical field where scientists were able to create organs just through stem cell manipulation. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
The Creation of Liver Buds
Plenty of people require a liver transplant. In fact, more than 16,000 Americans are eagerly waiting for an organ donor. This is the sad state of reality for people who are suffering from a terminal condition unless they are given a healthy and compatible organ.
This prompted Takanori Takebe, a stem cell biologist at the Yokohama City University in Japan, to find a way to help treat these people.
Takebe and his colleagues were able to successfully create liver buds just by using stem cells that were taken from human skin. These cells are then reprogrammed to reverse their already mature and differentiated state into their pluripotent state where they can still turn into any cell in the body.
By stem cell manipulation, the resulting cells are known as primitive liver cells and they are organized in a 3-D like structure that is replete with blood vessels. You could say that Takebe and his team have successfully made it so that the resulting cells would begin to create a functioning liver.
After cell fabrication, he and his team then transplanted those cells in lab rats. After the transplantation procedure, the liver buds then performed their functions. They started to metabolize the sugars that are found in the rats’ bodies.
Then, the researchers disabled the mice own liver and it was found out that the liver buds were able to sustain the life of the mice for at least 2 months. Takebe concluded his study that for people to survive for a very long time after liver bud transplantation, they would require tens of thousands of mini-livers.
A team that was led by Jurgen Knoblich, a neuroscientist, have successfully developed brain organoids that will help scientists and researchers study human diseases.
For Knoblich’s team to do this, they made use of two types of stem cells for them to produce these so-called “mini brains”: human embryonic cells and adult cells that were engineered to revert back to its pluripotent state.
Both of these types of cells were subjected to a special culture that is filled with nutrients and they are then suspended in a gel. These processes would render the cells to turn into neurons, pretty much the same as the ones that are found in our cortices.
According to Knoblich, if you were to use a microscope and zoom out to look at the cells, they actually do not look like the brain. However, when you analyze and examine its properties, they do contain individual brain regions that can function in unison. In other words, they were able to create a cell culture that mimics certain regions in the brain. This can prove to be useful for studying different diseases.
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