Friday, October 24, 2014

Stem Cells Discovered in the Esophagus

News Brief by Prachi Sharma

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have found that the esophagus has its own pool of stem cells, contrary to previous beliefs. In a recent study, researchers grew pieces of esophageal tissue from mice samples and tracked cells in the basal layer of the tissue. Ultimately, a small population of slow-dividing, primitive cells was found. The cells' self-renewing abilities, in particular, indicated that these cells might be a subpopulation of stem cells. These findings can potentially lend insight into the treatment of esophageal cancers and Barrett's esophagus, a precancerous condition that researchers now believe may be the result of esophageal stem cell dysfunction. The American Cancer Society anticipates there will be 18,000 esophageal cancer diagnoses this year, and predicts from these there will be approximately 15,500 deaths. Thus, this study has established vast implications for future research, development, and treatment of esophageal diseases.

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Stem cells discovered in the esophagus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2014. .

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