Mini-Stomachs Grown from Stem Cells to Study Cancer, Ulcers

the MPR take:

Scientists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have grown human pluripotent stem cells to create functional, three-dimensional human stomach tissue and 3D human gastric organoids (aka mini-stomachs) in order to study infection by H. pylori bacteria. Mini-stomachs were grown from human pluripotent stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells; both were successful in generating human stomach tissue. After the introduction of H. pylori, biochemical changes to the mini-stomachs occurred rapidly – within 24 hours. Soon, the early stages of gastric disease caused by the bacteria were evident, along with activation of the cancer gene c-Met, and the rapid spread of infection in the stomach epithelial tissues. The researchers hope to use the mini-stomachs to research diseases of the stomach, from ulcers to cancer, along with understanding the biochemical processes in the stomach that promote the reversal of diabetes in some gastric bypass patients before significant weight loss occurs.

Mini-Stomachs Grown from Stem Cells to Study Cancer, Ulcers
Mini-Stomachs Grown from Stem Cells to Study Cancer, Ulcers

Scientists have grown miniature stomachs in a lab dish using stem cells, and are already using them to study stomach cancer. And the team grew their mini-stomachs using two different types of stem cells — human embryonic stem cells, grown from very early human embryos, but also induced pluripotent stem cells or iPS cells, which are made by “tricking” bits of skin or other tissue into acting like a stem cell.

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