Researchers from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre have successfully grown functional human intestinal tissues by utilizing stem cells. After stimulating the stem cells with a “molecular cocktail” of chemicals and growth factors, the team observed as the cells developed into the mucosal lining and muscle layers, while exhibiting digestive functions such as nutrient uptake and responding to molecular signals. Continue reading
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have developed a method of growing unlimited quantities of intestinal stem cells thus enabling them to better understand intestinal diseases and advance the development of more personalized and effective treatment options. Continue reading
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a group of inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine. The major types of IDB are Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. In the US, approximately 1 million people suffer from diseases that fall under the category of IBD. Treatments for this disease ordinarily include steroids and immune-suppressors. However, researchers at Wake Forest have recently discovered a population of stem cells that may be able to treat IBD without the use of either steroids or immune-suppressors.
A recent story in the New York Times tells the story of a young infant who was born three months premature with a disorder that causes their intestinal tissue to die. The condition can be fatal and for surviving infants, current treatments are limited and invasive. Dr. Grikscheit, a pediatric surgeon at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, is developing methods to grow intestinal tissue ‘in vivo’ [inside the body] to replace defective intestinal tissue and provide an opportunity for children afflicted with the condition to live a normal life. “We have a huge problem that if we solve it, it will change the future for a lot of children,” she said.