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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

More Extra Bits 

Donated organ and tissue shortages have been a serious problem since transplant technology was first developed. In addition to a willing donor, you also need a compatible one. Stem cell research holds a great deal of promise here, and hopefully one day we'll be able to just grow new organs of our own on demand.

A big first step in this direction was published today. Researchers transplanted rat kidney primordia into grown rats, which developed and functioned well enough to keep the rats alive for a short time when their remaining kidneys were removed. This is more of a proof-of-concept than anything else, as the rats still died fairly soon, but first steps are often the most important.

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