Reporting online recently in the journal Gut, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said they have made cell lines from individual patients in as little as two weeks. They have created more than 65 such cell lines using tissue from 47 patients who had routine endoscopic screening procedures, such as colonoscopies. A cell line is a population of cells in culture with the same genetic makeup.The scientists said the cell lines can help them understand the underlying problems in the GI tracts of individual patients and be used to test new treatments.”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. “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.”To grow the human cells, the researchers adapted a system used to grow intestinal epithelial stem cells in mice. In the GI tract, epithelial cells line the inner surface of the esophagus, stomach and intestines.
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