Healthy Living

How Lab-made 'Mini-organs' Can Treat Cystic Fibrosis

 Cystic Fibrosis: More about this experiment

More about this experiment

Founded in the Netherlands, this type of experiment is intended to help individuals with rare forms of cystic fibrosis. Doctors aim to grow mini replicas of intestines for every Dutch patient so that they could get to the bottom of what exactly is causing their symptoms and determine what type of treatment could work best. So far, doctors have grown mini intestines for 450 out of 1,500 Dutch patients with cystic fibrosis. Still in its early stages, this approach is now being experimented on in laboratories worldwide – helping researchers learn more about treatment for cystic fibrosis and its impact on the organs of the body. Dr. Hans Clevers of the Hubrecht Institute, who founded this approach, stated “The mini guts are small, but they are complete. The tiny organs “have everything you would expect to see in a real gut, only on a really small scale.”  10 years prior, Clevers discovered that stem cells can turn into several other types of cells in the gut. “To our surprise, the stem cells started building a mini version of the gut,” Clevers recalled.