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Project of the Month: New findings show that all immature cells can develop into stem cells

All cells in the foetal gut have the potential to develop into stem cells, a new study published in ‘Nature’ and conducted at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen concludes, a partner in the EU-funded INTENS (INtestinal Tissue ENgineering Solution) project. The researchers discovered that the development of immature intestinal cells is not predetermined but is instead affected by the cells’ immediate surroundings in the intestines.

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Throughout life, the organs in the body are maintained by stem cells, which are also able to repair minor tissue damage. A better understanding of the factors that determine whether or not an immature cell develops into a stem cell may therefore be useful in the development of stem cells for therapy and transplantation. For more information, please see: • “We have gained greater insight into the mechanisms through which cells in the immature intestines develop into stem cells. Hopefully we are able to use this knowledge to improve treatment of non-healing wounds, e.g. in the intestines. So far, though, all we can say for sure is that cells in the gastrointestinal tract have these characteristics. However, we do believe this is a general phenomenon in foetal organ development." - Prof. Kim Jensen, Biotech Research & Innovation Centre, Copenhagen University, INTENS project partner If you are interested in having your project featured in ‘Project of the Month’ in an upcoming issue, please send us an email to and tell us why!


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