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Researchers Exploring Ways To Personalized Treatments By Growing Human GI Cells

Update Date: Aug 08, 2014 12:08 PM EDT

A method of growing human cells from tissue removed from a patient's gastrointestinal (GI) tract has the potential to lead development of tailor-made therapies for inflammatory bowel disease and other GI conditions, according to a new research. 

Researchers said they have made cell lines from individual patients in just two weeks. They have created around 65 such cell lines using tissues from 47 patients who had routine endoscopic screening procedures like colonoscopies. 

The cell lines would help researchers understand the underlying problems in the GI tracts of individual patients and be used to test new treat treatments, said researchers. 

"While it has been technically possible to isolate intestinal epithelial stem cells from patients, it has been challenging to use the material in ways that would benefit them on an individual basis," said co-senior investigator Thaddeus S. Stappenbeck, MD, PhD, a professor of pathology and immunology, in the press release."This study advances the field in that we have developed new methods that allow for the rapid expansion of intestinal epithelial stem cells in culture. That breaks a bottleneck and allows us to develop new ways to test drug and environmental interactions in specific patients."

The growth of human cells was achieved through adapting a system used to grow intestinal epithelial stem cells in mice. 

"An additional important feature of this system is that we can isolate stem cell lines from intestinal biopsies," said first author Kelli L. VanDussen, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Stappenbeck's laboratory. "These biopsies are very small tissue fragments that are routinely collected by a gastroenterologist during endoscopy procedures. We have refined this technique, so we have nearly 100 percent success in creating cell lines from individual patient biopsies."

Researchers believe, in future, these cell lines could be used as targets in testing new drugs, and vaccines.

The study has been published in the journal Gut

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