Replica of pancreas may help cancer research

Oct, 2021 - By SMI

Replica of pancreas may help cancer research

A study reveals replica of pancreas can be created using human pancreatic cells which could help scientists to develop treatments for cancer.

Scientists at MIT and Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, found a new way to produce small replicas of the pancreas by the use of healthy or cancerous pancreatic cells. This new discovery may help in the development of efficient medications for pancreatic cancer, which is a type of cancer that is hard to treat. The team used a special gel that replicates the external cellular environment around the pancreas to grow these replicas, which helped in understanding the important interaction between pancreatic tumors and their surroundings.

In the traditional process of producing organs at labs, special gels used involve intricate mixtures of proteins and growth factors that lowers the possibility of accurate results. Therefore the team used a specialized gel created using a biocompatible polymer called polyethylene glycol, which is entirely synthetic, easy to produce and can be created repeatedly with same composition. It can be used for growing other organ tissues such as intestinal and endometrial tissues. The external cellular matrix of the organ is a mixture of proteins and other substances that are produced by cells surrounding the organ to support the structure. To create this supportive environment for the organ, the team used polyethylene glycol. The team had used other approaches to create the external cellular environment however, these methods couldn’t produce a suitable surrounding for the growth of the tissues.

Using the gel made of polyethylene glycol, the scientist compared the replicated pancreas to the tissues in the living mice to find out that the replicated tissues consists many similar cells and proteins as the real ones. The study also demonstrates production of organ from cancerous tissues of pancreas. With the help of this new gel other organs can be replicated to study different types of cancers.

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