Thriving Synthetic Mouse Cells: The Future of Science

The evolution and expansion of information are such that we’ve learned much as a human race. Including how to create life without the normal sperm and egg required for reproduction. In an article posted in SciTechDaily, “Scientists from the University of Cambridge have created model embryos from mouse stem cells that form a brain, a beating heart, and the foundations of all the other organs of the body…The team of researchers, led by Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, developed the embryo model without eggs or sperm. Instead, they used stem cells – the body’s master cells, which can develop into almost any cell type in the body.” This presents a whole new avenue for creating life, organs for transplant, and multiple other possibilities. The article stated the applications for this step forward: “According to the team, their results could help researchers understand why some embryos fail while others develop into a healthy pregnancy. In addition, the results could be used to guide the repair and development of synthetic human organs for transplantation…” The study was published in the journal Nature on August 25, 2022. For the “nearly 106,000 people on an organ transplant list” (according to the Washington Post) this advance could be lifesaving for them.

This scientific advancement is a huge deal for the wife of someone whose life was saved by an organ transplant. Without his cousin Brendan’s living donation of a kidney, my husband would be on dialysis or gone by now. For people who need hearts, lungs, livers, and so forth, stem cell-created embryos that grow the needed organ for someone is a game changer. The research according to the lead professor, “It’s just unbelievable that we’ve got this far. This has been the dream of our community for years, and a major focus of our work for a decade, and finally we’ve done it.” — Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz.”

The hope this gives to those who previously had little is in itself a reason for this kind of research to be supported and encouraged.

By Gretchen Hendrick Gardella, MLIS

Gretchen Hendrick Gardella is a Librarian with administrative, research, and vast technical skills. Ms. Gardella brings over 16 years of experience working in academic and public libraries to the discussion.