Scientists in the U.S. – including a gastroenterologist of Greek descent – have announced that they have discovered a new organ which appears to play a role in various common diseases such as cancer.
The organ is made up of a network of fluid transport channels inside the body, which may be used, among other things, by cancer cells to spread to different sites.
Scientists, who made the discovery randomly during gastrointestinal routine endoscopies, refer to it as “an avenue of moving fluid”.
Further microscopic analysis has brought to light a kind of fluid that moves through channels found everywhere in the body.
Each body tissue is surrounded by a network of such channels, which together appear to comprise an organ.
The researchers, headed by Neil Theise, professor of Neuroscience at the New York University Medical School, and Petros Benias, of the Icahn Medical School, Mount Sinai, and Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, who published the research in Scientific Reports, estimate that the new organ contains about one-fifth of the total volume of body fluids.
“The discovery can bring dramatic advances to medicine,” Theise said, stressing that the body fluid “can be a powerful diagnostic tool”. They may also open new paths to treatment of various diseases.
The channel network, which flows into the lymphatic system, is located beneath the skin surface and between the muscles, runs through the digestive tract, the lungs and the urinary tract while surrounding the arteries and veins.
Probably, according to scientists, it acts as a “shock absorber”, preventing the rupture of organ tissue, muscles and vessels after some shock.