Human mini-organs will begin to grow in a new environment


Swiss scientists from the Polytechnic Federal school of Lausanne (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) have optimized a method of growing mini-organs in vitro. For this they have created a special hydrogel.

Mini-organs can be used for drug development, validation of the effectiveness of medicines – in some cases their use allows to refuse from conducting experiments on animals. The researchers suggest that in the future artificially grown organs can be used to replace damaged organs.

For growing mini-organs using stem cells that must grow and differentiate. In order to obtain organoid with the necessary three-dimensional structure, the desired frame – its researchers and made from hydrogel. It is composed of biomolecules, carbohydrates and proteins necessary for growth and differentiation of stem cells. It is through this hydrogel frame, organelles acquire the necessary form.

Hydrogels currently used have several problems: when create is difficult to control the homogeneity and therefore the characteristics of the different gels may vary. This affects the behavior of stem cells. In addition, the source of such hydrogels are mouse – this increases the likelihood that the gel will contain pathogens or immunogenic. Grown using such hydrogels organelles are not suitable for clinical use.

Matthias Lutolf (Matthias Lütolf) and his colleagues have created a synthetic hydrogel, devoid of all the drawbacks of natural. The gel comprises water and polyethylene glycol. Using such hydrogel skeleton, scientists have managed to grow miniature intestine from stem cells of the intestine.

The composition of the hydrogel include other components and their concentrations are easy to control. The risk of infection grown on any of the pathogens in this case, the minimum – these organelles are much more suitable for use in clinical practice than those grown on natural gels earlier.

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