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Scientists create mini-stomachs using stem cells. Possible patches for ulcers?

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Scientists have created mini-stomach cells using stem cells, which could be used in the treatment of gastric diseases such as stomach cancers or ulcers.

A group of scientists from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine have created a 3D stomach tissue of a human in lab environments. Jim Wells, a scientist in the Division of Developmental Biology and Endocrinology within Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, who is also the principle investigator of the study, reveals that it is the first time that gastric cells have been generated from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs).

Wells also points out that the latest study marks the first molecular generation of three dimensional human gastric organoids (hGOs). The study can help scientists to develop new drugs, understand stomach cancer stages and find vital information about obesity-linked diabetes.

The scientists reveal that the reason for growing hGO in the lab was to understand the stages that are involved in the formation of normal stomach during embryonic growth. The experiment involved manipulation of normal stomach formation processes in lab environment using pluripotent stem cells so that they can become stomach.

The mini-stomach took about a month to grow and reached 3mm in diameter. The researchers reveal that with the help of the latest experiment they want to understand the needs for normal human stomach formation. The scientists also want to establish the reasons that are responsible for abnormal formation of human stomach.

Many researches involve experiments with animals. However, scientists reveal that stomach architecture and biology differs a lot between different species depending on what is eaten by a specific species. Human stomach is very different when compared to other stomach of other animal species. The disease it gets also differs from the stomach of other animals.

"Differences between species in the embryonic development and architecture of the adult stomach make mouse models less than optimal for studying human stomach development and disease," per the press release of the study.

Thousands of people are affected with stomach ulcers leading to stomach cancer globally each year. Around 22,000 Americans suffer from stomach cancer each year and half of them die. The researchers believe that the latest study is very important as it can help in the treatment of stomach cancers and ulcers and maybe even create replacement stomach in the future. 

The study has been published in the journal Nature.

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