The intestine is an organ of the digestive system and is responsible for the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. The surface of the intestine which lines the lumen, called the epithelium performs the absorptive function. It is subject to constant wear and tear and is renewed through the lifetime of the individual. This means that there is a pool of cells which are multiplying to undergo self renewal, as well as give rise to progeny that acquire specialised function so as to replace the cells which are shed from the surface into the lumen. These cells are called stem cells, and are important in the replenishment of the epithelium as well as in repair when the epithelium becomes damaged in the diseased state. Harmful changes in the genetic makeup of the stem cells can lead to cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Hence, an understanding of the way the stem cells divide and acquire specialised function is very important in trying to understand the disease process as well as in developing therapeutic approaches to manage the diseased state of the epithelium as well as its repair and regeneration
|Effective start/end date||8/04/08 → 7/08/11|
- Medical Research Council
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