CINCINNATI - Scientists working to bioengineer the entire human gastrointestinal system in a laboratory now report using pluripotent stem cells to grow human esophageal organoids.

Published in the journal Cell Stem Cell the study is the latest advancement from researchers at the Cincinnati Children's Center for Stem Cell and Organoid Medicine (CuSTOM).

The center is developing new ways to study birth defects and diseases that affect millions of people with gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastric reflux, cancer, etc.

The newly published research is the first time scientists have been able to grow human esophageal tissue entirely from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), which can form any tissue type in the body, according to the authors.

Cincinnati Children's scientists and their multi-institutional collaborators already have used PSCs to bioengineer human intestine, stomach, colon and liver.

"In addition to being a new model to study birth defects like esophageal atresia, the organoids can be used to study diseases like eosinophilic esophagitis and Barrett's metaplasia, or to bioengineer genetically matched esophageal tissue for individual patients."

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