Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine have developed an automated system, which makes use of robots to produce human mini-organs. These organs are developed from stem cells. This ability to mass produce “organoids” promises to increase the use of mini-organs in basic research and drug discovery.
Benjamin Freedman, Assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, proclaimed that the recent development is a new “secret weapon” in the fighting against disease.
Previously, the scientists had to grow the research cells used for biomedical purposes by cultivating them into flat sheets. But these cells grown by culture were too simplistic and did not truly mimic the true cells. More recently, scientists had succeeded up to some extent in growing these cells into more complex and 3-dimensional structures. They are called as mini-organs.
This new development will allow the researchers to grow such type of organoids at a rapid rate. It’s the first time researchers have been able to mass-produce these mini-organs from stem cells.
Freedman explained that generally, the scientists require a full day to set up an experiment of this magnitude. But with the recent development, the robots will be able to do the same task within 20 Minutes.
The new technique will avoid human error while performing the repetitive and tedious tasks like this. Also, these robots can analyze their creations to identify the different types of cells present in the organoids. These organoids were developed with the help of pluripotent stem cells, which can become any type of organ.
Recently, researchers from Salk Institute have taken an important step in the study of Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), which is a type of deadly brain cancer. Scientists in the Verma lab edited two genes in few cells in the human cerebral organoids to generate aggressive GBM tumors. This research study was published in the journal Cell Reports on April 24, 2018.
This new model will be helpful to study the tumor progression. Also, it will help in investigating new drugs and even personalizing the treatment patterns for individual patients.