Helmsley Charitable Trust Grants $1.8 Million Toward Crohn’s Disease Research

Helmsley Charitable Trust Grants $1.8 Million Toward Crohn’s Disease Research
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has donated $1.8 million for the development of a gut-mimicking microdevice to help scientists better understand Crohn’s disease and develop new therapies. The technology will be developed by Hyun Jung Kim, a biomedical engineering assistant professor at The University of Texas who has been developing these types of devices for a decade. "I am humbled by the generosity of the Helmsley Charitable Trust," he said in a news release. "I am also excited by the opportunity to help find answers to the root cause of a disease where much more research is needed." "Organ-on-a-chip" is, simply put, a see-through chip containing hollow channels that can be lined with different types of living human cells, providing a window into the workings of human organ systems. The technology offers a potential alternative to expensive and time-consuming animal testing. Last year, Kim used organ-on-a-chip technology to identify the initiating factor of human gut inflammation. Kim reported that damage to the intestinal epithelial layer — a thin, single-cell barrier that blocks harmful microorganisms from entering the bloodstream and spreading throughout the body — triggered gut inflammation. Damage to the intestinal epithelial layer causes leakage of gut bacteria into the bloodstream — a condition known as leaky gut. It has been associated with inflammatory bowel disorders such as  ulcerative colitis
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