Research Overview: Science one step closer to growing organs on a plate

Although it seems like science fiction, one day we may be able to grow replacement organs and tissues. Our ability to manipulate stem cells is accelerating, and new research is bringing this goal much closer. For this and more news to reach, keep reading.

New stem cell research could lead to organ farming in a Petri dish

Research has come a long way in manipulating stem cells in the last decade or two. In theory, it would be possible to use stem cells to grow in whatever type of tissue – even in organs – you want. Recent research by University of Copenhagen there is identified a new step in the development process that puts them one step closer to making it possible. The study was published in the diary Natural cell biology.

“Simply put, a number of recent studies have tried to make stem cell guts on a plate,” says Dr. Martin Prox. said a student at the University of Copenhagen and one of the main authors of the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s Stem Cell Medicine Center at the university. “We have found a new way to do this, a way that follows different aspects of what is happening in the embryo. Here we have discovered a new route that the embryo uses, and we describe the intermediate stage that different types of step cells can use to make the intestines and other organs.

They evaluated pluripotent stem cells and endodermal extra-embryonic stem cells. Extraembryonic endodermal cells are a new stem cell line described several years ago that contributes to intestinal organs. They act as supporting cells that nourish the membrane. Using the newly discovered “alternative route,” they took extraembryonic endodermal stem cells and developed them into plate-like intestinal organs. This new alternative process allows them to actually form organoid structures. To do this, they created a new computational tool that compares clusters of cells that have been candidates for the formation of organs related to the digestive tract, including the liver, pancreas, lungs and intestines. They still face the challenge of maturing cells to fully functioning organs, but the findings suggest new approaches.

A molecule that stimulates the formation of new insulin-producing cells

Researchers in Carolingian Institute identified and tests a small molecule that can stimulate the regeneration of insulin-producing beta cells. They demonstrated this in the tissues of zebras and mammals. They believe it has the potential to be a new target for diabetes treatment. The molecule binds to a protein called MNK2, regulates mRNA translation and enhances protein synthesis. In the tissues of zebras and pigs, they have shown that it can induce the formation of new beta cells in the pancreas and stimulate the expression of insulin in human organelles.

The dark matter of genome mutations associated with cancer

For a long time, the non-coding parts of the genome were called “unwanted DNA” because they didn’t understand what it was doing. They then discovered that much of it played a role in regulating gene activity. Now researchers with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are finding link between non-coding mutations and cancer risk. They found that in many cases, mutations in non-coding parts of the genome have an epigenetic effect, meaning that they change how tightly wrapped the DNA is in those places. This affects the ability of other segments of DNA or specific proteins to bind to those sites that affect cancer genes. For example, more than 300 mutations have been identified associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. But less than 10% are in the genes, and the rest are in non-coding regions. From their research, they have developed a database of mutations that may be associated with cancer risk through a known biological mechanism.

The molecule in mosquito saliva is a new target for several diseases

Investigators with University of Leeds identified a molecule in mosquito saliva called sialoquinine, which may be a new target for vaccination against various diseases, including yellow fever, dengue and zika. Sialoquinine facilitates the transmission of several types of mosquito viruses to humans. Previous research has found that sialoquinine can alter the function of blood vessel cells grown in a Petri dish, allowing increased blood flow and more efficient mosquito feeding. Molecules make blood vessels more permeable, allowing the contents to leak into the skin, which helps viruses infect cells. They also found that sialoquinine is not found in all mosquito saliva, such as Anopheles, the dominant malaria transmission vector, a parasite. These mosquitoes cannot spread most viruses.

Numerous heart diseases associated with triple the risk of dementia

Great study from University of Exeter and Oxford University rated data from more than 200,000 people aged 60 or over of European origin in the UK Biobank. They identified people diagnosed with cardiometabolic disorders such as diabetes, stroke, heart attack or any combination of the three, and who subsequently developed dementia. They found that the more people who have these three conditions, the higher the risk of dementia. People with all three were three times more likely to develop dementia than people with a high genetic risk of dementia. They published the study in The lancet for healthy longevity.

“Dementia is a major global problem, with an estimated 135 million worldwide devastating by 2050,” said Dr. Xing Yu Tai, a leading author and PhD student at Oxford University. “We have found that the presence of such heart disease is associated with a higher risk of dementia than genetic risk. So whatever genetic risk you are born with, you can potentially have a big impact on reducing your risk of dementia by taking care of your heart health and metabolism throughout your life.

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