The cell: both tiny and vast.
As scientists delve deeper into the mechanisms that lie beneath difficult-to-treat conditions such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, they pick away at the edges of science, reaching for loose threads and poking their fingers into dimly lit nooks.
But because answers from fresh angles are not always forthcoming, it is well worth doubling back every once in a while, opening old doors and revisiting familiar faces.
Recently, for instance, a new organ was “discovered” hiding in plain sight. The interstitium — a system of fluid-filled bags — is now considered one of the body’s largest organs.
Previously, the interstitium was thought to be fairly inconsequential; little more than anatomical glue paper supporting proper organs doing proper work. But when cutting edge imaging techniques zeroed in, its size and importance became clear.
In research, everyone knows that no stone should be left unturned. The interstitium, however, reminds us that they should be turned multiple times and at regular intervals.
In this article, we cover some familiar aspects of cellular biology that are being revisited and providing unfamiliar ways to understand disease.