A recent report announced that a group of scientists had successfully generated functional, three-dimensional human stomach tissue with pluripotent stem cells in their laboratory, bringing new hopes for researching the development and diseases of an organ central to several public health crises, ranging from cancer to diabetes.
In a report published in Nature at Oct. 29, scientists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center reported that they used human pluripotent stem cells to grow a miniature version of the stomach. In collaboration with researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, they used laboratory generated mini-stomachs (called gastric organoids) to study infection by H. pylori bacteria, a major cause of peptic ulcer disease and stomach cancer.
The report said that it took about one month for these scientists to get the final result of 3D human gastric organoids and but the preparation for this experiment was about two years, due to the relative lack of previous literature resources on how the stomach develops.
According to the report, the key to growing human gastric organoids is to identify the steps involved in normal stomach formation during embryonic development. By manipulating these normal processes in a petri dish, scientists will be able to coax pluripotent stem cells toward becoming stomach. This approach can also be used to identify what drives normal stomach formation in humans to help scientists understand what goes wrong when the stomach does not form correctly.
The report also suggested that researchers can use human gastric organoids as a new discovery tool to help unlock other secrets of the stomach, such as identifying biochemical processes in the gut that allow gastric-bypass patients to become diabetes-free soon after surgery before losing significant weight.
It is the first time in the history for researchers to have successfully produced 3D human embryonic foregut and it is believed to be a promising starting point for generating other foregut organ tissues like the lungs and pancreas. The first-time molecular generation of 3D human gastric organoids (hGOs) presents new opportunities for drug discovery, modeling early stages of stomach cancer and studying some of the underpinnings of obesity related diabetes.
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