In a breakthrough for regenerative medicine, scientists have grown intestinal tissues with functional nerves in a laboratory setup using human pluripotent stem cells.
A pluripotent stem cell is a precursor cell to all the other types of cells in the body. In a petri dish, the stem cells were treated in a biochemical bath that triggered the formation into intestinal tissue. The novel part of the study was the construction of a nervous system on the intestinal organoid.
The tissues were transplanted into mice. They worked successfully and showed a structure “remarkably similar” to that of a natural human intestine.
The scientists see that in the future, this development could have greater potential in studying diseases, such as Hirschsprung’s [disease], and treating them.
“One day this technology will allow us to grow a section of healthy intestine for transplant into a patient, but the ability to use it now to test and ask countless new questions will help human health to the greatest extent,” said Michael Helmrath, surgical director of the Intestinal Rehabilitation Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital….
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