Clinical Resources

Potential stem cell-derived therapies are advancing from the laboratory towards the clinic. These cell-based approaches present novel considerations for clinicians and the public alike. The ISSCR is dedicated to helping educate and inform clinicians, review boards, and the public with current, scientifically-grounded information on these advances and their application(s).

 

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Guidelines that outline core principles of scientific rigor and research integrity, regularly updated based on scientific developments and disseminated to researchers, clinicians, organizations and institutions around the world.

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First Lab-Grown Mini-Thyroids Use Patients’ Own Tissue

  • 15 March, 2021
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Research Unlocks New Clues for Treating Hypothyroidism

Hormones produced by the thyroid gland are essential regulators of organ function. The absence of these hormones either through thyroid dysfunction due to e.g. irradiation, thyroid cancer or autoimmune disease or thyroidectomy leads to symptoms like fatigue, feeling cold, constipation and weight gain. The condition called hypothyroidism is estimated to affect up to 11% of the global population. Although hypothyroidism can be treated by hormone replacement therapy, some patients have persistent symptoms and/or experience side effects. To investigate potential alternative treatment strategies for these patients, researchers have now for the first time succeeded in generating thyroid mini-organs in the lab. In a new study published in Stem Cell Reports, Robert Coppes (r.p.coppes@umcg.nl) and colleagues from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, used healthy thyroid tissue from patients undergoing surgical removal of the thyroid to grow mini-thyroid organs in a lab which resembled thyroid glands in their structure and protein content. The thyroid mini-organs contained stem cells which re-grew and formed new mini-organs when the structures were dissociated, providing a potentially unlimited source of lab-grown thyroid tissue. Importantly, the thyroid mini-organs could be matured and produced thyroid hormones in the cultures. Preliminary proof that these structures could potentially replace thyroid tissue came from experiments in mice with hypothyroidism, where transplantation of the mini-organs increased serum levels of thyroid hormones and extended the lifespan of the animals compared to un-transplanted mice. Further studies are required, however the study lays the foundation for generating thyroid mini-organs from surgically removed tissue and may potentially lead to a new therapy for hypothyroidism in the future.

Generation and Differentiation of Adult Tissue-Derived Human Thyroid Organoids,
11 March 2021