Nav: Home

Special issue: Organoids open frontiers in biomedicine, as design challenges are addressed

June 06, 2019

A Special Issue of Science featuring four Reviews illuminates ways in which organoid technology is opening up frontiers of research in biomedicine, allowing for the testing of cancer drugs on cells from individual patients, for example. As the technology expands, researchers are working to solve unmet needs, including related to production, control, and analysis of organoids and their microenvironments.

In one Review, Hans Clevers and David Tuveson talk about a decade of efforts to use organoids to study cancer. "This allows for the first time," Clevers says in a related video, "the researcher to take small samples of tumors from many, many patients, grow them in the lab, build them into ... a living biobank." The biobank can be used for research, in lieu of using animals. Using cancer organoids developed in this way permits testing samples of individual drugs on individual cancer patients, or engineering of cancer mutations into the organoid to understand their individual contributions to disease. In the video, Clevers discusses how immune cells are recently considered particularly important to cancer drug development. "Organoids now for the first time offer the possibility to take cancer cells [and] immune cells from the patient, bring them together in a tumor organoid and study how to how to encourage the immune cells to go and kill the cancer cells," Clevers says.

In another Review in the issue, Sunghee Estelle Park, Andrei Georgescu, and Dongeun Huh colleagues discuss how integrating organoids with organ-on-a-chip technology will make it more likely that organoids can be harnessed for biomedical applications - including to test scenarios that aren't testable in humans. Though organoids allow for more accurately modeling the human body than organ-on-a-chip technology, organoids can develop in a highly variable way, making them challenging to control. "We can use [organ-on-chip devices] to control the cells in their microenvironment very precisely," says Huh in a related video. "What's compelling is to combine the physiological realism of organoids with the [control] and reproducibility of organ-on-a-chip technology to develop a more advanced system that would give us the best of both worlds," Huh says. In the video, he describes recently launching some of his institution's organ-on-a-chip technology on the International Space Station to study how and why astronauts become more prone to infection during spaceflight.

A third Review in the issue, by Takanori Takebe and James M. Wells, highlights a current challenge in organoid design - engineering cellular complexity into organoids in a controlled manner. The next generation of organoids will require an engineering-based narrative design to control patterning, assembly, morphogenesis, growth, and function, the authors say. A fourth Review, by Marti Shahbazi, Eric D. Siggia, Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, discusses how creating stem cell-derived organoid-like embryo structures could overcome challenges in studying embryonic development.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Cancer Cells Articles:

Drug that keeps surface receptors on cancer cells makes them more visible to immune cells
A drug that is already clinically available for the treatment of nausea and psychosis, called prochlorperazine (PCZ), inhibits the internalization of receptors on the surface of tumor cells, thereby increasing the ability of anticancer antibodies to bind to the receptors and mount more effective immune responses.
Engineered bone marrow cells slow growth of prostate and pancreatic cancer cells
In experiments with mice, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center say they have slowed the growth of transplanted human prostate and pancreatic cancer cells by introducing bone marrow cells with a specific gene deletion to induce a novel immune response.
First phase i clinical trial of CRISPR-edited cells for cancer shows cells safe and durable
Following the first US test of CRISPR gene editing in patients with advanced cancer, researchers report these patients experienced no negative side effects and that the engineered T cells persisted in their bodies -- for months.
Zika virus' key into brain cells ID'd, leveraged to block infection and kill cancer cells
Two different UC San Diego research teams identified the same molecule -- αvβ5 integrin -- as Zika virus' key to brain cell entry.
Plant-derived SVC112 hits cancer stem cells, leaves healthy cells alone
Study shows Colorado drug SVC112 stops production of proteins that cancer stem cells need to survive and grow.
Changes in the metabolism of normal cells promotes the metastasis of ovarian cancer cells
A systematic examination of the tumor and the tissue surrounding it -- particularly normal cells in that tissue, called fibroblasts -- has revealed a new treatment target that could potentially prevent the rapid dissemination and poor prognosis associated with high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC), a tumor type that primarily originates in the fallopian tubes or ovaries and spreads throughout the abdominal cavity.
The development of brain stem cells into new nerve cells and why this can lead to cancer
Stem cells are true Jacks-of-all-trades of our bodies, as they can turn into the many different cell types of all organs.
White blood cells related to allergies may also be harnessed to destroy cancer cells
A new Tel Aviv University study finds that white blood cells which are responsible for chronic asthma and modern allergies may be used to eliminate malignant colon cancer cells.
Conversion of breast cancer cells into fat cells impedes the formation of metastases
An innovative combination therapy can force malignant breast cancer cells to turn into fat cells.
Breast cancer cells in mice tricked into turning into fat cells
As cancer cells respond to cues in their microenvironment, they can enter a highly plastic state in which they are susceptible to transdifferentiation into a different type of cell.
More Cancer Cells News and Cancer Cells Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0
More than test scores or good grades–what do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

One of the most consistent questions we get at the show is from parents who want to know which episodes are kid-friendly and which aren't. So today, we're releasing a separate feed, Radiolab for Kids. To kick it off, we're rerunning an all-time favorite episode: Space. In the 60's, space exploration was an American obsession. This hour, we chart the path from romance to increasing cynicism. We begin with Ann Druyan, widow of Carl Sagan, with a story about the Voyager expedition, true love, and a golden record that travels through space. And astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson explains the Coepernican Principle, and just how insignificant we are. Support Radiolab today at