"When it comes to growing intestines, the first inch is the hardest."

Lab grown guts

#Health

Sat, Feb 25th, 2017 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Intestines now join kidneys, brain matter "and a few other kinds of tissue" that can be grown in a lab. While there is no mention of transplant, the near-future goal is to use the guts to study disease.

In 2011 researchers at the same center announced that they had grown intestinal tissue—but it was missing nerve cells and so was unable to contract in the undulating motion that pushes food along a colon. This time around, the scientists grew neurons separately and then combined them with another batch of stem cells that had been induced to become muscle and intestinal lining. Voilà: an inch-long piece of gut formed. “Just like in developing human bodies, the nerve cells knew where to go,” says Michael Helmrath, surgical director of the Intestinal Rehabilitation Program at Cincinnati Children's.

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