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Growing human GI cells may lead to personalized treatments
Date:8/7/2014

bacterial pathogens like E. coli.

This showed that pathogenic strains of E. coli attached to intestinal epithelial cells. That attachment is thought to be the critical step in stimulating disease. The investigators said the experimental system they created should lead to new methods to uncover therapies for treating bacterial infections of the intestine.

"In the past, the only really robust method for studying GI epithelial cells was to use cancer cell lines," said co-senior investigator Matthew A. Ciorba, MD, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine. "However, cancer cells behave differently than the noncancerous GI epithelium, which is affected in patients with conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease. This technique now allows us to study cells identical to the ones that live in a patient's GI tract. Plus, we can grow the cell lines quickly enough that it should be possible to develop a personalized approach to understanding a patient's disease and to tailor treatment based on a patient's underlying problem."

The researchers said the new technique is relatively simple and inexpensive and could easily be adapted for use in other laboratories.

"You can grow these cells, differentiate them and then test various therapies using these cells," Stappenbeck explained. "If we want to learn whether particular patients have a susceptibility to certain types of infections, we can test that. We're very excited about this going forward because we're entering new territory. We've never been able to do this before."

Looking ahead, the researchers believe these cell lines will be useful in testing for new drug targets, for vaccine development and to better understand how these human cells interact with the beneficial and the harmful microbes that also live in the gut.


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Contact: Jim Dryden
jdryden@wustl.edu
314-286-0110
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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