CANCER BREAKTHROUGH? New 'shock absorber' organ discovered spanning ENTIRE body

A newfound organ the interstitium is seen here beneath the top layer of skin but is also in tissue layers lining the gut lungs and urinary systems as well as those surrounding blood vessels and the fascia between muscles. The organ is a body-wide net

Thus, they were able to observe for the very first time the anatomy of this vast network of channels that accumulate fluid and drain in into the lymph nodes.

Previously, researchers believed these tissue layers to be a dense "wall" of collagen-a strong structural protein found in connective tissue.

Neil Theise, a professor at the School of Medicine of the University of NY and the new study's author, explained that this new organ, the Interstitium, has not been discovered before due to the fact that scientists tend to examine fixed tissue. The tissue contains interconnected, fluid-filled spaces that are supported by a lattice of thick collagen bundles, Theise said in the report.

The scientists reasoned that they didn't discover this organ before because it never showed up on a microscopic slide which they traditionally use for research. When scientists prepare tissue samples for these slides, they treat the samples with chemicals, cut them into thin slices and dye them to highlight key features. The "fixing" process allows doctors to observe vivid details of cells and structures but drains away all fluid.

Now, researchers say the network that carries this interstitial fluid is its own distinct organ.

But you'd think we had the human body pretty well figured out, given there are 7 billion of us milling around to be potentially dissected. While looking at the tissues around the bile duct and pancreatic ducts, they noticed a net-like structure surrounding fluid-filled spaces. Instead, what the researchers from NYU's School of Medicine introduce is a new way of investigating cancer tissues.

Scientists had long believed that connective tissue surrounding our organs was a thick, compact layer. It existence was demonstrated using a new technique for generating images from inside the human body. This means that cancer cells could potentially be released by the interstitium as it transports fluid throughout the body.

The fluid-filled tissue is also though to act as a shock absorber for the body.

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This study is based on a newer technology, where a camera is snaked down the throat with a laser that lights up tissue and patterns.

It's also the space where the tip of the needle goes during acupuncture, which Theise said might hold clues to how that complementary medicine approach might impact the body.

Researchers collected tissues samples of bile ducts from 12 cancer patients during surgery.

Theise and his team are now conducting further analysis on this newly discovered fluid to see how it might aid physicians in detecting (and therefore treating) cancers earlier on. "But these were not artifacts", Theise said.

The findings were published on March 27 in the journal Scientific Reports. Dr. Michael Nathanson, chief of the digestive diseases section at Yale University School of Medicine, who was not involved with the study, told Live Science that "from the evidence presented it's quite possible they're correct".

Theise says that this is found in interstitium, which totals about "10 litres of fluid" inside the human body. That's what they saw when they looked at it in the lab, outside the body, at least.

It is thought the new discovery could have a pivotal role to play in fighting cancerWhat is the interstitium?

"They had been there all the time". We have found a new window in the mechanism of spreading tumors, "said Dr. Thyssey".

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