Tokyo Researchers Create Working Kidneys, Pancreas In Mice

Scientists at the University of Tokyo have got success in making kidneys and pancreases in mice that had been reprogrammed to grow without such organs, by putting in embryonic stem cells from strong mice into fertilised eggs.

The result of the study at the university’s Institute of Medical Science has raised expectations for developing human organs from stem cells.

In their study, the team interjected embryonic stem cells from healthy mice into eggs of genetically engineered mice, which do not produce kidneys and pancreases three days after fertilisation and inserted the eggs into surrogate mice.

The newborn mice were found to have kidneys and pancreases that they derived from the embryonic stem cells. Vascular tracts and nerves were those of the host mice.

Both types of organs worked normally, the researchers said.

Lead researcher Prof Hiromitsu Nakauchi, “We have made a step forward in realizing a technique to produce human organs inside the bodies of domestic animals but we need to clear safety and ethics issues from now on.”

As a next step, the researchers said they were planning to test the technique on monkeys and pigs to ensure its safety.