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Wednesday 20th June 2018

New way to create bioartificial organs

5th November 2010

A new technique that uses stem cells to regrow organs could boost the supply of much-needed donor organs for transplant.

stem cell

Spanish scientists said they had managed to create bioartifical organs for transplant using the method, which could vastly reduce the risk of rejection of the donated organ.

Francisco Fernandez-Aviles, chief cardiologist at Madrid's Gregorio Maranon hospital said the technique involved "stripping" a donated heart, liver or other organ, leaving just a framework.

Researchers were then able to apply stem cells from the patient, stimulating the organ to regrow itself with DNA that was the patient's own, he said.

Such an organ would be more acceptable to the recipient's body.

Fernandez-Aviles said he expected doctors to be able to carry out transplants involving organs that have been re-generated using this technique in a minimum of five years' time.

He said it would put an end to both the lack of donors or organs suitable for transplant and the rejection of transplanted organs by the patient.

The hospital currently has eight heart structures ready for use with this technique, he said.

It is hoping to partially re-grow one heart using stem cells by the end of the year.

Officials say this is the first laboratory in the world dedicated to producing bioartifical organs for transplant using this technique.

It has already successfully extracted stem cells from a patient's fat tissue to treat a heart problem.

Hopes that immature, pre-cursor cells can be prompted into becoming specific adult cells for the heart, brain and other organs have driven massive investment into stem-cell research.

In 1989, Spain set up a network of transplant coordinators in at all hospitals in the country which closely monitor emergency wards to identify potential donors.

The system, the first in the world, tactfully approaches the families of the recently deceased, to ask permission to use organs to save other lives.

Before the system was set up, 40% of families declined such permission to donate organs from the bodies of deceased relatives, compared with just 15% under the new system.


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