British scientists have built a complete and functional organ in a living animal for the first time.
The team produced it by reprogramming cells in a step towards being able to grow replacement organs for humans. It could be used in humans within 10 years, experts believe.
The scientists created a working thymus, which is a vital immune system nerve centre near the heart.
Professor Clare Blackburn, who led the team at the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said: “The ability to grow organs from cells in the lab is one of the holy grails of regenerative medicine.
“We’ve managed to produce an artificial cell type that can form a fully organised organ. This is a first step towards generating an artificial thymus in the lab.”