Scientists have grown intestinal tissues by using pluripotent stem cells. A breakthrough for regenerative medicine like this would be helpful in the future for studying and treating many diseases, like Hirschsprung’s, with synthesized and lab-grown organs.
Potential of Self-Growing Cells
The latest research showcases pluripotent cells and how they are used to create the intestinal tissue with functional nerves from a laboratory setup. These cells are also called “master cells” as they are able to make cells from three basic body layers. Basically, they can produce any cell or tissue needed by the body in order to repair itself.
For the study, these self-renewing stem cells are treated with a biochemical bath in a petri dish which triggers the information into the intestinal tissue. The successfully engineered tissues are transplanted into the mice with outstanding results as reported in the journal Nature Medicine.
The structure of the lab-grown tissues is deemed “remarkably similar” to a natural human intestine making the study a promising breakthrough. Moreover, the manufacture of a nervous system on the intestinal organoid is considered novel.
Neural crest cells are a temporary group of cells which arise from the embryonic ectoderm cell layer which turns into a diverse cell lineage. These cells were used in the study and mixed together with the intestinal tissue at exactly the same time which grew to a successful complex functional system.
Future of Synthesized Tissues
Regenerative medicine administers with the process of replacing, engineering and regenerating human cells, tissues, and organs in order to bring back its normal function. This is known as a branch of translational research in molecular biology and tissue engineering.
In the study, the researchers observed the Hirschsprung’s disease which is a condition that affects the large intestine and causes problems with passing stool. Through the synthesized tissue, they were able to study the disease more. Additionally, more diseases and its treatments could be further understood and discovered with this medical approach.
Michael Helmrath, a co-author of the study and a surgical director in the Intestinal Rehabilitation Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, said the technology would hopefully be used to “grow a section of healthy intestine for transplant into a patient.”
In the meantime, it could answer and trigger more questions in the field of human health to the greatest extent. And while there are many quality and ethical issues to be conquered, regenerative medicine is undoubtedly one of the most potentially groundbreaking ways of treating many diseases.