October 22, 2013

3D Method Used to Grow Micro Pancreas


3DNowadays, every day tells news of a medical marvel. Today, the astonishing news is out of the journal Development showing how researchers have been able to grow a 3D micro pancreas. It sounds science fiction but it’s as non-fiction as science gets.

The miniature pancreas was cultivated from progenitor cells. From this small step in creating organs, researchers hope to make a giant leap for mankind in treating diabetes.

For this research, the lab was able to take pancreatic cells and  enable the expansion to develop a micro pancreas. Mice cell material grew in a tree-like structures to create the full sized mouse organ. Using this method, researchers hope to use human stem cells to do the same for a human sized pancreases.

“The new method allows the cell material to take a three-dimensional shape enabling them to multiply more freely. It’s like a plant where you use effective fertilizer, think of the laboratory like a garden and the scientist being the gardener,” says a leading researcher in the lab.

In this experiment, they found that a single cell does not work. The study shows that there needs to be 4 cells in order to grow and proliferate into a mini organ. Within a week, a cluster of 4 cells can multiply into 40,000 cells.

Once there are thousands of cells, the cells transform into specialized cells that make either digestive enzymes or or hormones like insulin. It sound like more cells mean more jobs can get done.

Whether you’re a person with full-on T1D needing an organ or a person with T2D needing spare parts, this research is shedding light on both sides of the fence for potential therapies in the future. Keep your 3D glasses handy. This may be a coming attraction very soon.

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