First intact organ 'grown' through transplanting cells

Reprogrammed cells created in a laboratory have been used to build a complete and functional organ in a living animal for the first time.

British scientists produced a working thymus, a vital immune system "nerve centre" located near the heart.

In future the technique, so far only tested on mice, could be used to provide replacement organs for people with weakened immune systems, scientists believe.

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First intact organ built through transplanting cells

Scientists have for the first time grown a complex, fully functional organ from scratch in a living animal by transplanting cells that were originally created in a laboratory.

British scientists produced a working thymus, a vital immune system "nerve centre" located near the heart.

Reprogrammed cells created in a laboratory have been used to build a complete and functional organ in a living animal Credit: Bodo Schackow/DPA/Press Association Images

In future the technique, so far only tested on mice, could be used to provide replacement organs for people with weakened immune systems, scientists believe.

But it might be another 10 years before such a treatment is shown to be effective and safe enough for human patients.

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