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Human Organs to be Grown in Animals in Japan

Latest reports indicate that Japanese scientists may soon be able to grow human organs in animals within a year. 

Though it has been prevented in the past, a panel of government appointed experts have created a recommendation of guidelines for embryonic research in the country.

While other countries have objected to growing human organs inside animals, the technique is widely supported in Japan.

Scientists have made a plan which consists of introducing human stem cells into the embryo of an animal. This animal will likely be a pig. Called a "chimeric embryo," the animal would start growing a human organ as it matures. By the time the animal is slaughtered, its human organ could be transplanted to someone.

Professor Hiromitsu Nakauchi, head of the center for stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at the University of Tokyo, said it is an important stage in embryonic research. Nakauchi said it took over three years to get to this point.

Japanese scientists are only able to develop chimeric embryos in laboratory conditions since embryo implantation is prohibited.

But with these revised guidelines, Nakauchi said they should be able to produce it in an actual animal. And he believes once they are able to do so, the turn-around time for a human organ will be quick, as they have already established the technique. 

While they believe it should be easy to grow uncomplicated organs like the pancreas, they anticipate it will be difficult to grow human hearts and kidneys.

Sources: Inquisitr, The Province


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