For the first time, scientists have caused a living organ to regenerate itself in a mouse.
Scientists in Edinburgh have regenerated a living organ in a mouse, the first development of its kind.
While researchers have previously built organs from stem cells, this is the first time chemical treatment has resulted in an organ regenerating itself. In their research, scientists at the University of Edinburgh manipulated a single protein in elderly mice – using a chemical trigger – that caused their thymus’ to regenerate.
Generally, in aging, the thymus is one of the first organs to begin shrinking. Once the organ had regenerated itself, it had the genetic profile of a young mouse’s thymus and grew to twice its original size.
Since the thymus is linked to the immune system, scientists hope that further research could be found that would mean extending the health of elderly people, enabling them to fight off diseases, such as influenza, more easily.