June 17, 2002
Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa))
Australian researchers said they have become the first scientists to grow an entire organ from stem cells.
Researchers at Melbourne's Monash University said they have grown a fully functioning thymus, an organ near the heart that lies fallow after puberty.
Their work marked the first time a complete organ has been cultivated from stem cells, the building blocks of the human body because they can mutate into any type of cell, Australia's ABC Radio reported Tuesday.
Research leader Richard Boyd said work on the thymus could help in finding a cure for cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and diabetes.
"This organ, along with bone marrow, is the engine room of the immune system," Boyd said. "It's the key to good health because without it, the body has no protection against viruses."
He said that "rebooting" the dormant thymus could rebuild a damaged
Copyright 2002 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH