The research, highlighted in the quarterly magazine of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) this week, is looking at urothelial cells. These are the specialised lining cells of the bladder that enable it to retain urine. The cells have a very low turnover rate, but scientists have found that if the bladder is damaged, the urothelial cells are able to rapidly re-grow to repair the wound. The researchers hope to harness this property to engineer new bladders.
The York researchers have developed a series of models that mean they can study human urothelial cells in the laboratory. Of these models, the most important is their development of a urothelial cell sheet that functions as it would in the bladder. When the researchers create a wound in this model, the cells regenerate to repair the damage - just as they would in the body.
Pharmaceutical companies should soon be able to use the research models to test therapies for the bladder, but the longer term aim for this research is to help patients who have lost bladder function or have had all or part of their bladder removed because of cancer.
Research leader, Professor Jenny Southgate, explains: "The models we have developed mean that we have been able to examine how urothelial cells in the bladder self-renew to cope with injury.
"With this basic understanding of how the cells work, we are moving towards being able to engineer new bladders. Currently, substitute bladders can be created by using a section of the patient's bowel, but this can lead to complications, as the bowel does not have the same urine-holding properties as urothelial cells. One solution could be to use laboratory-grown urothelial cells to line a section of bowel."
The hope in the long term is that collaborative research to combine Professor Southgate's work with biomaterial studies at the Universities of Durham and Leeds could mean engineered bladder tissue ready for transplantation.
Professor Southgate, who is Director of the Jack Birch Unit for Molecular Carcinogenesis, in the Department of Biology at the University of York said: "Our most exciting work moving forward is to develop natural and synthetic biomaterials that could be combined with regenerating urothelial cells. This has the potential to produce viable bladder tissue for transplant into patients who need replacement bladders."
The York research highlights the importance of basic biology research in underpinning medical advances. Professor Nigel Brown, BBSRC Director of Science and Technology, commented: "Fundamental bioscience research forms the foundation for much of the medical advances we have today and hope for in the future. We need a solid understanding of how our bodies work and maintain themselves before we can understand what goes wrong when they become diseased and how the disease can be treated."
Michelle Kilfoyle | alfa
Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh
Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences