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article imageScientists engineer human stomach for research

By Tim Sandle     Jan 15, 2017 in Science
Cincinnati - Scientists have successfully grown functional stomach and intestinal tissues. This has been created to study diseases and new drugs, and looking at the interactions between health and disease.
To create the organs, the researchers used pluripotent stem cells to generate human stomach tissues. This was developed on the micro-scale (almost a ‘lab within a Petri dish). The tissues were able to generate acid and digestive enzymes. The tissues were grown from a stomach’s corpus/fundus region.
The research was performed at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The group behind the project had previously produced the stomach’s hormone-producing region (the antrum), also a small-scale designed for laboratory analysis. Key to both developments was the use of human pluripotent stem cells. These cells have the ability to transform into any cell in the human body. It takes around six weeks for stem cells to form gastric-fundus tissues.
Bringing the two parts together means the researchers now have an efficient micro-organ for the study of disease and the responses of the organ to different drug products.
Talking with Lab Manager magazine, Dr. Jim Wells, who led the study, said: “Now that we can grow both antral- and corpus/fundic-type human gastric mini-organs, it’s possible to study how these human gastric tissues interact physiologically, respond differently to infection, injury, and react to pharmacologic treatments.”
The main focus for the research will be to study how organs form during embryonic development. This includes the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, and intestines. A key aspect will be with finding new treatments for genetic forms of diseases, such as monogenic diabetes and Hirschsprung’s disease. Critical to understanding such diseases, and something missing from current medical knowledge, is stomach normally forms during embryonic development. With this it is thought there are fundamental genetic pathways at play – the new research should able to answer this question.
The findings have been reported to the journal Nature. The research paper is titled “Directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into intestinal tissue in vitro.”
More about human stomach, Stomach, Laboratory, Stem cells
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