Scientists Grew Mini Human Guts Inside Mice

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: Your gut has an obvious job: It processes the food you eat. But it has another important function: It protects you from the bacteria, viruses, or allergens you ingest along with that food. "The largest part of the immune system in humans is the GI tract, and our biggest exposure to the world is what we put in our mouth," says Michael Helmrath, a pediatric surgeon at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center who treats patients with intestinal diseases. Sometimes this system malfunctions or doesn't develop properly, which can lead to gastrointestinal conditions like ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, and celiac -- all of which are on the rise worldwide. Studying these conditions in animals can only tell us so much, since their diets and immune systems are very different from ours. In search of a better method, last week Helmrath and his colleagues announced in the journal Nature Biotechnology that they had transplanted tiny, three-dimensional balls of human intestinal tissue into mice. After several weeks, these spheres -- known as organoids -- developed key features of the human immune system. The model could be used to mimic the human intestinal system without having to experiment on sick patients. The experiment is a dramatic follow-up from 2010, when researchers at Cincinnati Children's became the first in the world to create a working intestine organoid -- but their initial model was a simpler version in a lab dish. A few years later, Helmrath says, they realized "we needed it to become more like human tissue." [...] Matthew Grisham, a gastroenterologist at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center who wasn't involved in the new study, says the findings are exciting because these structures have a "human immune cell composition very similar to that of the developing human gut." He says the organoid model will help researchers investigate the mechanisms responsible for intestinal infection, inflammation, and food allergies. The Cincinnati researchers also hope their organoids could one day be used to treat people born with genetic defects that affect their digestive systems, or those who have lost intestinal function to cancer or inflammatory bowel diseases. That these organoids can flourish in a mouse is an encouraging sign that they might be able to grow on their own if transplanted into a person. Using induced pluripotent stem cells taken from patients, scientists could perhaps one day make customized tissue patches to help heal damaged organs. In the near-term, Helmrath says his team plans on making organoids from patients' own cells to test out possible individualized therapies. "This is right around the corner," he says. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-02-02 23:45:01 preview's
This Binary System is Destined to Become a Kilonova

Kilonovae are extraordinarily rare. Astronomers think there are only about 10 of them in the Milky Way. But they’re extraordinarily powerful and produce heavy elements like uranium, thorium, and gold. Usually, astronomers spot them after they’ve merged and emitted powerful gamma-ray bursts (GRBs.) But astronomers using the SMARTS telescope say they’ve spotted a kilonova progenitor … Continue reading "This Binary System is Destined to Become a Kilonova" The post This Binary System is Destined to Become a Kilonova appeared first on Universe Today.
2023-02-02 21:15:04 preview's
Extremely drug-resistant germ found in eye drops infects 55 in 12 states; 1 dead

CDC urges people to stop using EzriCare-branded artificial tears.
2023-02-02 17:45:04 preview's
Squid skin inspires novel “liquid windows” for greater energy savings

Bio-inspired system optimizes wavelength, intensity, dispersion of light reaching interiors.
2023-02-02 16:30:02 preview's
How Can We Know if We’re Looking at Habitable exo-Earths or Hellish exo-Venuses?

The differences between Earth and Venus are obvious to us. One is radiant with life and adorned with glittering seas, and the other is a scorching, glowering hellhole, its volcanic surface shrouded by thick clouds and visible only with radar. But the difference wasn’t always clear. In fact, we used to call Venus Earth’s sister … Continue reading "How Can We Know if We’re Looking at Habitable exo-Earths or Hellish exo-Venuses?" The post How Can We Know if We’re Looking at Habitable exo-Earths or Hellish exo-Venuses? appeared first on Universe Today.
2023-02-02 15:30:03 preview's
Carbon capture is here—it just isn’t evenly distributed

Small installations like CarbonQuest's may provide a key demonstration of the tech.
2023-02-02 15:00:07 preview's
'Less Clumpy' Universe May Suggest Existence of Mysterious Forces

One of the most precise surveys of the structure of the universe has suggested it is "less clumpy" than expected, in findings that could indicate the existence of mysterious forces at work. From a report: The observations by the Dark Energy Survey and the South Pole Telescope chart the distribution of matter with the aim of understanding the competing forces that shaped the evolution of the universe and govern its ultimate fate. The extraordinarily detailed analysis adds to a body of evidence that suggests there may be a crucial component missing from the so-called standard model of physics. "It seems like there is slightly less [clumpiness] in the current universe than we would predict assuming our standard cosmological model anchored to the early universe," said Eric Baxter, an astrophysicist at the University of Hawaii and co-author of the study. The results did not pass the statistical threshold that scientists consider to be ironclad enough to claim a discovery, but they do come after similar findings from previous surveys that hint a crack could be opening up between theoretical predictions and what is actually going on in the universe. "If the finding stands up it's very exciting," said Dr Chihway Chang, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and a lead author. "The whole point of physics is to test models and break them. The best scenario is it helps us understand more about the nature of dark matter and dark energy." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-02-02 14:00:06 preview's
The Historic Discussion of Ptolemy’s Star Catalog

From the time of its writing in the 2nd century CE, Claudius Ptolemy’s Almagest stood at the forefront of mathematical astronomy for nearly 1,500 years. This work included a catalog of 1,025 stars, listing their coordinates (in ecliptic longitude and latitude) and brightnesses. While astronomers within a few centuries realized that the models for the … Continue reading "The Historic Discussion of Ptolemy’s Star Catalog" The post The Historic Discussion of Ptolemy’s Star Catalog appeared first on Universe Today.
2023-02-02 12:30:03 preview's
The First Stars May Have Weighed More Than 100,000 Suns

The universe was simply different when it was younger. Recently astronomers have discovered that complex physics in the young cosmos may have led to the development of supermassive stars, each one weighing up to 100,000 times the mass of the Sun. We currently have no observations of the formation of the first stars in the … Continue reading "The First Stars May Have Weighed More Than 100,000 Suns" The post The First Stars May Have Weighed More Than 100,000 Suns appeared first on Universe Today.
2023-02-02 12:00:05 preview's
Enter the hunter satellites preparing for space war

Startup plans to launch prototype pursuit satellites on a SpaceX flight later this year.
2023-02-02 11:30:09