Hiromitsu Nakauchi is one of the most prominent stem-cell researchers in the world, and over the past few years, he's been cruising along a path that could well result in a near-unlimited supply of healthy pancreases for humans, which could well cure some types of diabetes. Except, in his native Japan, the law has yet to catch up to his work.
Nakauchi has lately been specializing in chimeric embryos, in which stem cells from one species are implanted in another, which then grows an organ that can be harvested and implanted back in the first species. The name "chimeric embryos" suggests a sort of horrifying (or, to be fair, possibly adorable) mix of species, but that's not really what's going on. Instead, the aim is to induce one species to grow an organ of the other, not a combination of two species.
He's done this with mice and rats; back in 2010, he successfully induced a mouse embryo to grow a rat pancreas by using rat stem cells. But the goal is human organs, so his focus has of late shifted to our friend the pig. The technique involves taking genetically engineered pig embryos that are incapable of growing their own pancreases and implanting human stem cells. The pig embryos will then grow, amazingly, a human pancreas. When the piglets are born, the pancreas is harvested, and then can be implanted into a human in need. Pigs are chosen because they're common and well-understood, and also because their organs are of similar size to our own.
Japan currently has a ban on what's called "in vivo" experiments, meaning "within the living." Essentially, Japanese law forbids experiments that involve a whole, living creature, like these piglets. ("In vitro," or "within the glass," is permitted.) Nakauchi has for years been campaigning to change this law, and he's making baby steps; earlier this week, the Expert Panel on Bioethics of the Council for Science and Technology Policy, Japan's federal science advisory board, recommended the laws be changed to allow Nakauchi's work. But that's not the same as changing a law; even if the Japanese legislature agrees, it'll be at least a year before the law can be updated.
According to Science, Nakauchi is considering moving his research to another country that allows in vivo experiments--like, say, the U.S., where, at Stanford, he did some postdoctoral work. The U.S. does not federally prohibit in vivo chimeric embryo research, though a few states have passed their own laws.
Chimeric embryo experiments are highly controversial; they're easy to confuse for some kind of Dr. Moreau-type madness, but even when you've got a grip on what's actually going on, it's hard to take a firm stance on either side. On the one hand, you could well cure forms of diabetes, grow hearts or kidneys or any other organs, and legitimately save lives. On the other hand, this is wild, foreign stuff, and also involves some genetic manipulation and almost certainly some inhumane treatment of animals. (How happy are those pancreas-less piglets, really?) It's a debate without easy answers, but one we'll be following closely.
Perhaps in the not so distant future NSA might incorporate itself in artifically created orgins or artificial electronic device installed in people.
From the ground up of technology and the foundation of software, NSA wants to have its fingers in the new technology to ease its snooping!!!!
"Silicon Valley, NSA might be closer than we thought"
"....The Times was able to identify one company that has established such a team in the past: Skype. The Microsoft-owned company, the Times' sources claim, established a small team of employees to work on the "legal and technical issues in making Skype calls readily available" to the NSA and other law enforcement agencies. The effort, called Project Chess, was established in 2008 -- long before Microsoft acquired the company, the Times' sources say...."
I am not secretly eavesdropping on you. I am microscopically 'analyzing' your communication and saving it for further 'analysis' on the premise you might be a terrorist. The word analysis makes it legally ok.
DARPA did a little research a few years ago on a technique called "Sodium Induction". The right amount of sodium ions present at a wound site allows for regenerative effects similar to those found in a Salamander. It's not organ replacement but it does make you wonder if ones own organs could not just be, damaged traumatically, and then repaired. Like, instead of a newly grown heart, just wreck the old one with a hammer and then regenerate it? Lol. I will do some more research and report back if I find anything good. Poor piglets. They do reciprocate human love at a young age. Intelligent species. Sad.
"Do not try and bend the spoon. That is impossible. Only try and realize the truth - there is no spoon."
The NSA is way behind. Some churches have been implanting a psychological device like that into their followers already for 2000 years or longer. They call it CONfession. The syllable "con" indicates that they trick you to spill the beans on yourself.
I realise that some animal experimentation must be done, but the older I get, the more sorry I feel for the poor beasties, hopefully that stuff can be grown in vitro soon.