Cincinnati Children’s scientists make breakthrough discovery for organ, tissue transplants

Cincinnati Children’s scientists make breakthrough discovery for organ, tissue transplants
Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 5:51 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A new discovery at Cincinnati Children’s could have scientists one step closer to creating human organs and tissues for transplants.

The research centers around organoids, which are small tissues created using stem cells that mimic human organs.

The creation of tissues like human intestine organoids is difficult and often an inconsistent process even for the world’s best scientists, until now.

As scientists at Cincinnati Children’s developed a groundbreaking method for producing these tissues using frozen cells. Allowing for easier, more widely available research opportunities.

“So, they don’t have to know how to grow stem cells for example,” explains Christopher Mayhew Ph.D., associate professor, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “We do all of that. We can make the cells that are frozen and the researchers can make organoids from those cells after they thaw them.”

Mayhew says he sees this breakthrough leading to scientists learning more about how or why diseases develop and progress.

“We have researchers here at Children’s who are you know studying things ranging from diabetes to cystic fibrosis, infection diseases like cancer,” says Mayhew. “So many different types of human diseases can be studied using organoids.”

Another possible use for these tissues is safer, faster development of drugs.

“If you see that there is a very obvious difference in the way healthy versus diseased organoids act by maybe adding something to the media or taking it away, you may be able to very quickly see a change without actually having patients in the lab or even getting to the clinical point,” says Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center research assistant Amy Pitstick.

When it comes to using these tissues to create new organs for transplant surgeries, Mayhew says we are not there, yet.

“I think it’s feasible that in the long-term it will be possible to generate human organs from stem cells that can be used in transplantation, but that is probably going to take decades of research before we get to that point,” Mayhew says.

Children’s officials say there are world leaders for organoid research in Cincinnati. Working alongside and consulting with some of the top scientists in this field is what allows them to make groundbreaking discoveries like this.

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