The process involves taking an old kidney and stripping it of its old cells, which would then be rebuilt with cells taken from the patient. The cells are taken from the patient to ensure that there would be no worry of their body rejecting the transplant. As the kidney is one of the most in-demand organs, this new discovery brings great hope that the hideously long transplant waiting lists might, one day, not be such a problem.
The research began with using a rat kidney and removing the old cells. The remaining ‘scaffold’, which resembles a kidney, is a network of protein, blood vessels and drainage pipes. The new cells were added and the organ was kept in a special oven mimicking the rat’s body.
So, with every new scientific phenomenon that happens we have to ask, are we going to far? In my opinion, no. I mean it’s a little weird that we might use the same engineered organs that rats can use, but in the end the common goal is the health of humans. And whilst the concept of growing your own organs sounds like a creepier version of the game Operation, people today are walking around with bladders and grown windpipes made in just the same way.
The idea is still in its early days and obviously a long process of trial and error is needed before such an idea can even be considered for applying to humans, but the building blocks are there to revolutionise medicine like we've never seen before.