Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Transplanting organelles from cell to cell

04 July 2022

Organelle Transplant

Just as the human body can be divided up into organs, our cells have their own ‘small organs’ called organelles. And just as replacing a faulty organ with a transplant can add years to a patient’s life, the hope is that one day we may be able to do something similar by transplanting organelles. Patients with inherited diseases of mitochondria – organelles that generate the cell’s energy – would particularly benefit. This may sound much like science fiction, but researchers believe they've now reached a point where it's technically feasible. The team developed and successfully used a nanosyringe to transplant mitochondria from one living cell into another. Not only do both the donor and recipient cells survive the process, but the transplanted mitochondria merge with those in the recipient cell to form one functional network. This video shows the transplanted mitochondria (red) fusing with the existing network in the recipient cell (cyan).

Written by Sophie Arthur

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