Human prostate grown in mice

This could help develop treatments for prostate cancer and other diseases, say researchers, who achieved the feat using embryonic stem cells.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2006 19:38 IST

Australian scientists claimed a world first on Thursday by growing a human prostate gland in mice using embryonic stem cells, a feat they say could help develop treatments for prostate cancer and other diseases.

The team at Melbourne's Monash University combined human embryonic stem cells with mouse prostate cells and implanted them in mice, where they grew into prostate glands.

The prostate surrounds the urethra at the neck of men's bladders.

Professor Gail Risbridger, a member of the team, said the breakthrough would allow researchers to "study the transition of healthy prostate tissue to cancer".

"Not only will this enable us to develop new, more effective ways of treating diseases that affect nearly every man, but we hope eventually to find a way to prevent these diseases in the first place," she said.

"This is a world first. People working on prostate cancer treatments would use this model worldwide," she said.

Another team member, Renea Taylor, said they grew the prostate tissue in the laboratory and then grew it into a functioning human prostate by using the mouse as a host.

"We've taken these embryonic stem cells to a point where they are actually functioning like a human prostate," she said.

"This is a novel use of embryonic stem cells, where we're using them to benefit us scientifically and to further our understanding in the laboratory," she told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

"We've now got a model that we can easily test potentially new clinical therapies for prostate disease," she said.

First Published: Feb 23, 2006 19:57 IST