Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Promising lab-grown skin sprouts hair and grows glands

Growing organs in the lab for transplantation is one of the ultimate goals for biomedicine. But the main issue with current skin grafts and transplants is that the resultant skin doesn’t function as it should, and often lack components such as glands and hair follicles. Scientists in Japan however have recently been able to produce fully functioning mouse skin, with follicles, sweat glands, and full “integumentary tissue".

“With this new technique, we have successfully grown skin that replicates the function of normal tissue, we are coming ever closer to the dream of being able to recreate actual organs in the lab for transplantation, and also believe that tissue grown through this method could be used as an alternative to animal testing of chemicals.” (Dr. Takashi Tsuji)

skin samples sprouting hair

The scientists took adult cells from the gums of mice and bathed them in chemicals that in turned back their developmental clock until they became what are known as "induced pluripotent stem cells".  The cells were then grafted onto the skin of nude mice where they started to differentiate and then the skin fully developed, even sprouting hair. Although this new technique will take about 10 years to benefit humans, I'm sure it will help the medical field tremendously with burn victims and many others who will need skin grafts and maybe even only organ implants.

Original source: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/4/e1500887.full
Related source: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35946611

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