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For the first time, researchers isolate adult stem cells from human intestinal tissue
Date:4/4/2013

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. For the first time, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have isolated adult stem cells from human intestinal tissue.

The accomplishment provides a much-needed resource for scientists eager to uncover the true mechanisms of human stem cell biology. It also enables them to explore new tactics to treat inflammatory bowel disease or to ameliorate the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, which often damage the gut.

"Not having these cells to study has been a significant roadblock to research," said senior study author Scott T. Magness, PhD, assistant professor in the departments of medicine, biomedical engineering, and cell and molecular physiology at UNC. "Until now, we have not had the technology to isolate and study these stem cells now we have to tools to start solving many of these problems"

The UNC study, published online April 4, 2013, in the journal Stem Cells, represents a leap forward for a field that for many years has had to resort to conducting experiments in cells from mice. While significant progress has been made using mouse models, differences in stem cell biology between mice and humans have kept researchers from investigating new therapeutics for human afflictions.

"While the information we get from mice is good foundational mechanistic data to explain how this tissue works, there are some opportunities that we might not be able to pursue until we do similar experiments with human tissue," lead study co-author Adam D. Gracz, a graduate student in Magness' lab. Megan K. Fuller, MD, was also co-lead author of the study.

The Magness lab was the first in the United States to isolate and grow single intestinal stem cells from mice, so they had a leg up when it came to pursuing similar techniques in human tissue. Plus the researchers were able to get sections of human small intestine for their experiments that otherwise would have been discarded aft
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Contact: Les Lang
llang@med.unc.edu
919-966-9366
University of North Carolina Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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