Scientists have made another step in growing human organs in the lab. The Guardian reports that Australian scientists have succeeded in turning skins cells into kidney tissue. Essentially they made an embryonic kidney, called “organoids” which are comparable to the organs of a first trimester embryo. Though these kidneys contain the same type of tissue in mature kidneys, they are as yet unsuitable for transplantation.
Nevertheless this research is important. These organoids could be used for toxicological testing (and hence replace animal testing) and to study kidney disease. And in the long run growing transplantable organs.
Growing organs from skin tissue has several advantages. Obviously using the patient’s own tissue to create organs will avoid transplant rejection. Further it will eliminate the shortage of organs.
The main consequence for science fiction writers is that “organ legging” is deemed to become an obsolete topic.