Kidney breakthrough ‘could end the need for donors’
by JAMES CHAPMAN, Daily Mail
Scientists have created the world’s first test-tube organs in a breakthrough that could revolutionise transplant medicine.
The American experts are claiming to have used cloning technology to transform cells taken from a cow’s ear into functioning kidneys.
The ‘spare-part’ kidneys were genetically identical to the cell donor and so were not rejected when they were transplanted into the animal.
The scientists are confident that the same technique will work in humans within the next few years.
Using just a few skin cells, doctors would be able to grow perfectly matched organs with none of the problems of rejection associated with donor tissue.
They have already started trying to produce other tissues, including heart cells.
The team of scientists at Advanced Cell Technologies in Massachusetts, a private firm, attracted international controversy when they announced the creation of the world’s first human embryo clones late last year.
Dr Robert Lanza, who led the team, said last night that the latest experiments proved that cloning techniques could offer a viable source of transplant tissue for humans.
In the UK, an estimated 100,000 people suffer from some form of severe kidney disease.
The NHS carries out approximately 1,200 kidney transplants a year, but almost 6,000 patients are waiting for a new organ at any one time.
Hundreds die before organs become available and at least 32,000 require treatment such as dialysis.