You'd think scientists have probed the human body long enough to discover most of its hidden secrets. I mean, come on, it's hard to miss an organ.
Before this scientific discovery, the human body had five vital organs: the brain, heart, kidneys, liver and lungs.
There's also other organs, like the ones responsible for reproduction and, of course the biggest of them all, our skin. All together, we have 80.
It's still unclear whether this organ will make it alongside the big five, but it definitely plays a crucial process in how our bodies work.
Scientists claim that it can explain how diseases like cancer spread, so this could be a huge breakthrough in modern medicine.
Interestingly, the organ was discovered by chance.
During routine endoscopies, which involves a device being inserted into the body to probe the stomach and the upper part of the intestines, medical experts stumbled upon something surprising.
While they were getting a microscopic view of the tissue inside a person's gut, they noticed a dense wall of tissue surrounding the bile duct, which is responsible for the digestion of food.
When these medical experts discovered this unexplained phenomenon, they contacted Neil Theise, a pathologist at New York University School of Medicine.
They tried to find this tissue in other parts of the body, and indeed they did. What they discovered is astonishing...
The New Organ
Theise used the same endomicroscopy device to look under the skin of his nose, which he found to have the same tissue that the medical experts found around the bile duct.
More man power was put into investigating this strange occurrence, and a team of scientists discovered that this newly discovered organ works as a shock absorber, and is most likely present around every tissue in the body.
This new organ contains approximately a fifth of the total fluid volume of the body, according to New Scientist.
In light of this, it can be labeled as an organ, because it has a network of channels that communicate vital information to the rest of the human body.
In the photo above, you can see that the collagen walls between cells have spaces filled with fluid. They can shrink and expand, which is why this organ is referred to as a shock absorber.
According to the report in the journal of Scientific Reports, this new organ plays a big function in carrying fluid that travels through the lymphatic vessels, which helps keep your body healthy.
Relation To Cancer
As you may know, cancer can easily spread in the body.
Theise researched on patients with invasive cancers and discovered that cancer cells found themselves in this new organ, because it has easy access to all our other vital organs.
“Once they get in, it’s like they’re on a water slide,” Theise said. “We have a new window on the mechanism of tumor spread.”
The team is continuing their investigations on this new organ, which they hope might lead to earlier cancer diagnoses.
They also think it can give insight into other problems like rare liver disease, inflammatory disorders and fibrosis.
As for the name of the new organ, it's called interstitium.