Scientists Envision 'growing' New Cells

TORONTO, July 22 (UPI) — Scientists in Toronto say they are studying human cell regeneration in hopes of discovering how the body grows tissues and organs damaged by disease.

At Mount Sinai Hospital, Dr. Ian Rogers is developing a replacement pancreas to be grown in a lab and then placed in diabetes patients to restore insulin production, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News reported Wednesday.

Rogers’ team is building a pancreas out of a surgical sponge, a three-dimensional structure seeded with insulin-producing islet cells. The lab-grown pancreas would be placed under the skin of patients with Type 1 diabetes to produce insulin.

Any condition where cells are damaged — from insulin-producing cells in diabetes to brain cells in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, to retina cells in blindness, to damaged areas in the heart — could in theory be repaired, researcher Dr. Andras Nagy said.

“If we can find a way to replace these cells back in to where (they’re) missing, we can envision a cure for these diseases which are currently devastating,” he said.

For now, most of the work is still in the test tube and Petri dish stage in Toronto and other laboratories around the world, the CBC said.

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