Homegrown gut grows like geraniums



In the gut-stem cell research at Utrecht’s Hubrecht laboratory they can claim an impressive scientific feat: growing “tissue of the gut, cultivated from stem cells harvested from the same gut.”

Currently, the cultivated gut is mouse gut, but according to the researchers, the technology works just as well in humans. And the tissue grows fast; it increases fivefold within a week! Within a couple of years this method could be used in gene therapy. Project leader of the gut-stem cell research is Dr Hans Clevers, and according to him it’s a fundamental step forward in stem cell research:

“Cultivating tissue from stem cells has been done before, but in those cases the stem cells were embryonic, with all the ethical complications that go with that, or they were blood, or skin cells, which is really something else.”

Dr Clevers and his team claim to have found the right breeding material and growth factors to make the cells multiply outside the body. As Hans Clevers puts it somewhat irreverently:

“It’s just like a geranium; give it what it needs and it’ll grow all by itself.”

(Link: radionetherlands.nl, image dreamstime.com)

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