An Israeli biotechnology company intends to repeat a previous experiment that successfully utilised stem cells to create an artificial mouse embryo, but this time with human cells.
Researchers at Weizmann’s Molecular Genetics Department generated “synthetic mouse embryos” in a jar without using sperm, eggs, or a womb, according to a report published in the journal Cell on August 1. According to Marianne Guenot of Insider, it was the first time the treatment had been undertaken successfully.
According to Jacob Hanna, the experiment’s principal investigator, the replica embryos were not “genuine” because they could not develop into fully developed mice. Nonetheless, scientists saw that the manufactured embryos possessed an intestinal system, a neural tube, a beating heart, and blood circulation.
Following the success of the mice study, Hanna told MIT Technology Review that he is seeking to replicate the results using human cells, including his own.
Hanna noted in a statement, “The embryo is the finest organ-making machine and the best 3D bioprinter; we endeavoured to replicate its abilities.”
According to some scientists, much more research is required before it will be possible to create artificial human embryos.
Hanna founded Renewal Bio in Israel with the intention of applying this expertise to organ tissue transplants to cure age-related issues, such as infertility and genetic diseases.
For example, the MIT Technology Review suggested that embryonic blood cells may support immunocompromised systems.
According to its website, Renewal Bio views “declining fertility rates and rapidly ageing populations” as two of the world’s most pressing problems.
According to the company’s website, “Renewal Bio aims to make humanity younger and healthier by utilising the promise of the new stem cell technology to address these complex and compounding problems.”
Omri Amirav-Drory, the acting CEO of Renewal Bio, told MIT Technology Review that although Hanna’s experiment was “amazing,” the company did not wish to “overpromise” or frighten people with the potential technology.
According to a 2017 paper published in the journal eLife, the use of human embryo clones for research has frequently aroused ethical concerns among the scientific community, including the prospect that artificial embryos could experience pain or consciousness.
Hanna claimed to the MIT Technology Review that he would be able to sidestep these moral difficulties if he created synthetic human beings without “lungs, hearts, or minds.”