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Meet Your “Interstitium,” A Newfound Organ

On March 27th, scientists published a new discovery in the journal of Scientific Research that is suggesting the uncovering of a previously unknown organ–one of the biggest in the human body and one that could significantly advance our understanding of cancer nad many other diseases.

The research suggests a network of dense tissue and fluid-filled compartments called the “interstituium.” Just like a heart or liver, the organ is a unique structure performing a specialized task.

The compartment are found beneath the skin, the lining of the gut, blood vessels and muscles, and join together to form a network of strong proteins.The team behind the discovery suggest the compartments may act as “shock absorbers” that protect body tissues from damage.

Understanding the interstitium could be vastly significant is diagnosing and tracking the spread of cancer and other diseases that spread themselves throughout the body. Interstitial fluid is the main source of lymph, that releases white blood cells (the body’s immune system infection fighters) wherever the are needed in the body.

“Initially, we were just thinking it’s an interesting tissue, but when you actually delve into how people define organs, it sort of runs around one or two ideas: that it has a unitary structure or that it’s a tissue with a unitary structure, or it’s a tissue with a unitary function,” said Dr. Neil Theise, professor of pathology at NYU Langone Health in New York, who was a co-senior author of the study. “This has both,” he says of the interstitium.

 

 

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