Big breakthrough! US scientists use stem cells to grow first human oesophagus

In a first, US scientists have used stem cells to grow human oesophagus — known as the food pipe — in the laboratory, an advance that will enable personalised disease diagnosis, regenerative therapies. A team from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio successfully generated fully formed human oesophageal organoids — tiny version of an organ produced in vitro in three dimensions — using pluripotent stem cells (PSCs). PSCs are master cells that can potentially produce any cell or tissue the body needs to repair itself. The oesophageal organoids grew to a length of about 300-800 micrometers in about two months.

“Disorders of the oesophagus and trachea are prevalent enough in people that organoid models of human oesophagus could be greatly beneficial,” said lead investigator Jim Wells, from the hospital.

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