While animal models have long been the driving force behind biology and disease mechanistic studies, organoids are now emerging as a new powerful model to study human specific development and disease. Human organoids derived from patients specific stem cells are largely equivalent to human embryonic tissue, produce organoid cultures that are scalable and produce differentiated intestinal tissue when transplanted. Establishment of in vivo transplantation assays also requires animal models, traditionally immunocompromised mice (nonobese diabetic severe combined immunodeficiency interleukin-2Rɣnull (NSG or NOG)) to support the tissues growth and development. However, larger animal models, such as pigs, need to be established before organoid transplantation in humans. Currently, similar models are being development and will be discussed. Although the ultimate goal of this methodology is to produce human specific tissues to replaced damaged or lost intestine in conditions that today require transplantation, the ability to screen drugs and therapies specifically directed at human conditions is well within research today. Dr Helmrath will review these recent advances and application of these technology to treat human disease.
As a pediatric surgeon scientist, Dr. Helmrath has established a large multidisciplinary team dedicated to clinical, translational, and basic science research focused on human diseases. Clinically, he is dedicated to patients with intestinal diseases and obesity. In his laboratory he focuses on characterizing intestinal stem cells during intestinal adaptation and developing intestinal regenerative strategies. By combining his current roles as surgical director of research, director for the Center for Bariatric Research and Innovation, surgical director of the Intestinal Rehabilitation Program, and associate director of Clinical Translation for CuSTOM, his strong basic science research background further allows him to translate human GI conditions to the laboratory to develop highly innovative approaches to treat intestinal diseases.
The Mark W. Allam Lecture is named for one of the cofounders of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Dr. Allam was an avid proponent of the concept of “one medicine,” the idea that the similarities between human and animal medicine are great and that these two fields can benefit considerably from the discoveries made in each field. The lecture was instituted to foster this concept and has been given annually since 1972.
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