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Tuesday, 06 September 2011 21:15

Stem cells from colon cells isolated and bred

For the first time a research team under the direction of Eduard Batlle from the Institute of Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Barcelona in cooperation with Hans Clevers from University Medical Center in Utrecht succeeded in finding the site in the colon in which  the stem cells are located.

Until now it was not possible to isolate adult stem cells from the colon. During their work they discovered the site hidden in the tissue. In order to isolate them they used a surface molecule which is produced by the stem cells naturally in great quantities. A particular antibody which binds to a specific site of the surface protein was very helpful. The scientists bred the stem cells in culture. The cells can live there for five months. The stem cells can be transformed into colon cells with the aim of using them in colon disease therapies later. Alternatively they could serve in therapies for the regeneration of non-functioning intestinal mucosa.

The cell cultures could also be meaningful in basic research in the study of intestinal diseases or inflammatory intestinal diseases like Morbus Crohn.

Abstract: http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nm.2470.html