Making a Hybrid

Making a Hybrid

The team of researchers from Stanford University and the University of Tokyo first genetically modified rats so their offspring wouldn’t develop a pancreas. Then, when these rats conceived, they injected pancreas-building mouse stem cells into the rat embryos, which yielded a rat with a mouse pancreas. Once the rats had grown and their organs were mature, the researchers removed critical cells, called islets, from their pancreases and implanted them into diabetic mice.

Once these mice received the pancreatic islet cells from hybrid rats, their bodies began naturally adjusting glucose levels. The mice survived over a year with their new cells, and only required immunosuppressant drugs for five days—these drugs are typically lifelong companions for most organ transplant recipients. 

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