A team of researchers might have just discovered a new human organ which consists of a network of fluid-filled channels. Moreover, this network is what seems to be transporting cancer cells into the human body. Its name is “interstitium.” The team of experts made the discovery accidentally, after noticing something strange following some routine endoscopies. This involves inserting a small camera into someone’s gastrointestinal tract. Thanks to new techniques, doctors are now able to also look at the tissue that’s inside someone’s gut. Sometimes, the results can be shocking.
This team had expected to find a dense tissue wall surrounding someone’s bile duct. Instead, they found something completely unusual. Neil Theise, a pathologist at New York University School of Medicine is the leader of the study which the journal Scientific Reports recently published. According to him, when the team asked him to also take a look, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Using the exact same device, he looked under the skin of his own nose. So, this network was not only present in the bile duct, but everywhere around the body, carrying fluid through those channels.
The “interstitium”, a new human organ
According to Theisa, this could mean that every tissue in the human body is surrounded by these channels. Basically, they form a brand-new human organ which carries about one fifth of the total fluid volume of the body. What’s even more interesting about this network is that its channels might help spread cancer cells throughout the body.
After taking samples from people suffering from invasive cancers, they figured out that the cells had travelled from certain organs into these channels. In their turn, the channels took the cells to the lymphatic system. The next step is to analyze the fluid inside these channels and to figure out if it may be a way to discover cancer earlier.
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