The start-up wants to grow human embryos for organ donation

Medicine of longevity

Robert Klatt

  • Israeli start-up Renewal Bio wants to come out Artificial stem cells People in the embryonic stage race
  • They should like Organ and tissue suppliers they are used to extend the life of customers
  • Until now, they are used for this artificial uterus another in one early stage of development

The start-up Renewal Bio wants to artificially breed people in the embryonic phase to create tissue that will extend the life of its customers.

Rehovot (Israel). Longevity Medicine is a relatively young branch of preventive precision medicine that deals with life-prolonging measures. The Israeli start-up Renewal Bio has now announced that it wants to artificially breed embryonic human beings whose tissues will be used for organ harvesting. Apparently, the tissue obtained is used to extend the lives of customers.

Artificial uteri, an innovation in stem cell technology developed by scientists led by Jacob Hanna of the Weizmann Institute of Science, serve as the basis of ’embryo culture’. This method has been used for several days to cultivate mouse embryos made from mouse stem cells in artificial uteri. At the end of the experiment, the mouse embryos had beating hearts, a cranial fold, and blood flow.

Transmission to human cells

This experiment was the first in the world to create an advanced embryo without sperm, oocytes and a true uterus for the first time, according to a publication in the journal Cell. “This experiment has huge implications. One may wonder which mammal might be next, ”commented scientific breakthrough Bernard Siegel of the World Stem Cell Summit.

According to Hanna, scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science are already working on transferring technology to humans. This should enable the creation of artificial human embryos to match a natural baby at about two months of age. At this point, the tiny limbs and vital organs are now in place.

A natural replica of the body

Although the embryo is artificial, it replicates the human body naturally. “Can we use these organized embryonic units with early organs to obtain cells that can be used for transplant? We see it as a potentially universal starting point, ”explains Hanna.

According to Hanna, in current experiments it is possible to create artificial mouse embryos that correspond to 95 percent of the natural template. Today, however, the process is still very ineffective with a success rate of less than one percent. As a result, many artificial mouse embryos did not develop properly. In addition, there were often abnormalities such as heart problems.

Various possible uses

According to Renewal Bio, the possible applications of the method in longevity medicine are very diverse. One can imagine, for example, that the immune system of the elderly is strengthened by embryonic blood cells. An embryonic copy of an age-related infertile woman can also be used to create a young egg for fertilization.

However, it is not yet known how the start-up Renewal Bio intends to implement these and other possible applications. “We don’t want to promise too much and we don’t want to scare people,” said Omri Amirav-Drory, CEO of Renewal Bio.

Experiments with human cells

As reported by MIT Technology Review, in the next step, Hanna plans to experiment with her blood or skin cells to grow synthetic human embryos. According to him, thousands of artificial genetic clones are “futureless creatures” that are not viable. Therefore, it is not possible for a real person to develop from an embryo in a test tube.

However, experiments like Hanna spark debate in the scientific community about whether synthetic embryos should have rights, for example. It is also controversial whether they can be used as a basic material in medicine and science. According to Hanna, ethical concerns can be eliminated. “We believe it is important and we have invested a lot in this subject” – says the scientist. According to him, it is possible to prevent the formation of the heart, lungs or brain by changing the genes of the embryos to further reduce their life potential.

Start-up Renewal Bio in the early stages of development

Renewal Bio has already obtained a method license from the Weizmann Institute of Science, and is now also conducting research to improve incubator technology and embryo monitoring. According to Amirav-Drory, the company is currently still in an early stage of development, where the possibilities offered by artificial embryos are still being explored. So it will be a long time before the first humans are treated with tissue from artificial embryos.

Mobile, doi: 10.1016 / j.cell.2022.07.028

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