Earlier this summer
, researchers at the Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles created a mouse's small intestine in a lab, a huge breakthrough for regenerative medicine. It's just the latest in a tremendously promising movement that's already given us regenerative rabbit bones
and leg muscles
, but this mouse intestine might be the most impressive yet.
The intestine, says one of the authors of a paper on the subject, is a great subject for regenerative medicine because it's a "particularly regenerative organ. The cells are constantly being lost and replaced over the course of our entire lives." This particular organ was created by taking samples of every layer of cells in a mouse intestine, including muscle and epithelial cells, and then implanting them onto a sort of polymer base within a mouse's abdomen. It was encouraged to grow with a healthy portion of growth factor proteins.
The team is continuing to test
the artificial organ, with an eye towards pediatric medicine, particularly the treatment of infants born with intestinal disorders.
Runner-up: This intestine
from the University of Maryland is constructed of silicon, complete with cells growing in it.