www.BioTopics.co.uk
Site author Richard Steane
The BioTopics website gives access to interactive resource material, developed to support the learning and teaching of Biology at a variety of levels.


Cloning of human body parts for transplant surgery


No - this is not what is meant by cloning of human body parts for transplant surgery, although some people distrust scientists enough to believe that this is so!

In fact it is just an experiment to see if cells can be encouraged to grow on a preformed structure. Admittedly the mouse is a rather strange hairless variety, but would you like an ear covered with mouse hair?

In fact body parts cannot be directly cloned and grown. You cannot slice up, say, a kidney and expect it to grow into two or three new ones!

The most promising lines of approach involve encouraging stem cells to differentiate into specific cell types and then encouraging them to colonise 3-D templates so that they can take on the shape that is required. There has been some success with artificial or replacement bladders and windpipes.
See web references below.
There are 5 main areas of transplant activity:
kidney, pancreas, cardiothoracic, liver, cornea.


Transplant supply and demand data

This graph shows the difference between the need for transplant organs and the supply from deceased donors in the UK for the last 10 years.

Some questions about this information

What is the general trend shown by the need for transplant organs over the time period covered?
>gradual increase for the first few years (5248-5673), then more rapid increase recently (up to 7234)

What does the term deceased mean?
> dead - possibly following road traffic accidents or (sudden?) illness

What is the general trend shown by the number of deceased donors over the time period covered?
>very steady (range 738-796) - no real increase or decrease

What is the general relationship between the number of deceased donors and the number of organs transplanted over the time period covered?
>number of transplanted organs is about 2-3 x as many as number of donors

How would you explain this?
>Each donor gives both kidneys and possibly other organs
The gap between the supply of and demand for organs for transplantation has widened from approximately one to two times the (fairly steady) supply figure. There appears to be only a limited likelihood of extra supply from volunteer donors, so it is hoped that some of this shortfall will be made up by material obtained from cloning techniques.

Web references

http://www.abc.net.au/science/k2/moments/s1644154.htm
Great Moments in science : Mouse with Human Ear

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1949073.stm
Artificial liver 'could be grown'- BBC news story

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg14219303.800-the-organ-factory-of-the-future.html
The organ factory of the future? - A New Scientist archive article dating back to 18 June 1994

http://www.religioustolerance.org/clo_ther.htm
Therapeutic cloning: How it is done; possible benefits - quite a balanced article from Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance

http://www.uktransplant.org.uk/ukt/statistics/transplant_activity_report/current_activity_reports/ukt/transplant_activity_uk_2006-2007.pdf
Transplant Activity in the UK 2006-2007
This report is much more informative than macabre, and practically every graph and table is thought-provoking!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7735696.stm
Windpipe transplant breakthrough - Scientists have carried out the world's first tissue-engineered whole organ transplant made with a patient's own stem cells.
An informative article with good graphics.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/265713.stm
Doctors herald grow-your-own organs -Internal organs grown in the laboratory have been successfully transplanted into animals for the first time.
"Six dogs received new bladders constructed in the laboratory from cells multiplied from small samples of their original bladders. "

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/genetics/2006-04-03-bladder-regrown_x.htm
Organ re-engineered for the first time in bladder transplants.
"The first complex organ, the bladder, has been rebuilt in seven patients from living tissue cultivated in the lab. "

http://archives.cnn.com/2000/HEALTH/08/17/cloned.pigs.02/index.html
New pig cloning research promising yet risky, studies indicate

http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/cloning.shtml#organsQ
Cloning Fact Sheet from the Human Genome Program





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