Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Scientists discover new human organ hiding in plain sight

A newfound organ the interstitium resides beneath the top layer of skin and in tissue layers lining the gut lungs blood vessels and muscles. The organ is a body-wide network of interconnected fluid-filled compartments supported by a meshwork of str Scientists Discover New Human Organ By Chance
Steve Townsend | 29 March, 2018, 01:47

Until now, the skin was considered the largest organ, making up roughly 16 percent of the body's mass, but researchers estimate that the interstitium could make up around 20 percent of the body's volume, CNN noted.

Analysis published in the journal Scientific Reports is the first to identify these spaces collectively as a new organ and try to understand their function.

Previously, scientists had a vague notion that a network of spaces might hold fluid that exists outside of cells, but they had never been able to observe it. Researchers traditionally study tissue using biopsies that have been treated with chemicals, sliced into thin layers and dyed to highlight certain features. However Theise's research reportedly shows that space is actually a scaffolding of collagen that's filled with water.

The NYU-led team says the newly discovered organ is found all over the body - but somehow, it hasn't been identified until now. This part of the body is called the interstitium and is an already known space in the body that comprises of fluid filled spaces that spans all over the body. Upon further scrutiny, they determined that the lattice is composed of collagen bundles that support fluid-filled spaces and are lined irregularly with flattened cells that produce two markers, one endothelial and one mesenchymal. When Theise's team looked at samples taken from people with invasive cancers, they found evidence that cancer cells that had worked their way out of their original tissues could find their way into these channels, which took them directly to the lymphatic system.

"This has both", he said of the interstitium.

The findings have been met with applause throughout the medical community, with anticipation the deciphering the tissues complexities will become a leading field of research in the fight against cancer.

In 2015, doctors called endoscopists, who peer inside the body using long, flexible tubes with cameras on them, found something odd when they were using a new technology that adds a laser and a tiny microscope to light up living tissues inside a patient's bile duct.

Uber pulls out of SE Asia with seizure by rival Grab
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"As a result, scientists often interpreted the appearance of the submucosal space and this interstitium as a dense network of collagen or protein found in connective tissue, when in fact it was quite the opposite".

LiveScience notes these discoveries are also reflected in a 2011 study, which signaled the existence of a network of dark fibers in association with several cases of bile duct cancer, but didn't offer an explanation as to what it was.

For decades they appeared on slides but were dismissed as a layer of connective tissue. But scientists speculate that these useful properties could also work against us, allowing cancerous cells to spread throughout the body.

When Theise looked at fixed bile duct tissue under the microscope, he didn't see the pattern.

"Can we detect [disease] earlier by sampling fluid from the space?".

Cancer researchers have known for a long time that many cancers can spread from their starting point through special channels called lymphatic vessel into lymphatic glands and then into the bloodstream to move to new areas of the body, he explained.

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