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article imageLaboratory grown intestines 'a success'

By Tim Sandle     Oct 27, 2015 in Science
Using stem cells taken from the small intestines of human babies and mice, scientists have grown intestinal linings on gut-shaped scaffolds. The breakthrough adds to other research projects where artificial organs have been created.
In studies, reported by Science Magazine, artificially grown guts have been successfully transplanted into dogs without rejection. The dogs used in the study had damaged lining in their colons. The transplanted material was not only compatible; it successfully repaired the damaged lining.
Building on previous research that used scaffolds to grow replacement organs, a research group used stem cells taken from the small intestines of human babies and mice and grew intestinal linings. This forms part of a fast moving field called regenerative medicine. This is defined by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) as "process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function."
The research was conducted at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, led by Dr. David Hackam. The findings are published in the journal Regenerative Medicine. The research paper is titled “Intestinal stem cell growth and differentiation on a tubular scaffold with evaluation in small and large animals.”
It is hoped that the laboratory grown intestines be used, in the future, to treat a range of bowel disorders including necrotizing enterocolitis and Crohn’s disease.
Using similar techniques, scientists based at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston grew kidneys using similar technology. The laboratory-grown kidneys were successfully transplanted into rats. The kidneys were fully functional, filtering and discharging urine as a normally working kidney would. This research was published in Nature Medicine ("Regeneration and experimental orthotopic transplantation of a bioengineered kidney.") A related area is with livers. While a fully-functioning liver is someway off, tiny functioning human livers have been grown in the laboratory by Japanese researchers.
A further example has been pioneered by Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology (HART.) This is in relation to synthetic trachea system (or windpipe), which has also been created from the stem cells of patients.
More about Intestinal scaffolds, Guts, Organs, Body, regenerative medicine
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