Organoids: A new window into disease modeling, drug development and new therapy discovery.
What Are Organoids?
Organoids are in vitro cultured three-dimensional cell cultures that recapitulate key features of in vivo organs. Derived from human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), organoids provide the genetic and physiological similarity required for the modeling of human diseases. They have shown great potential in many applications, including disease modeling, drug screening, and cell therapy.
Organoids hold an obvious advantage over traditional 2D culture techniques in recapitulating complex processes of tissue morphogenesis. They preserve the inherent complexity of a given cellular environment and can simulate a precisely controlled geometrical, physical, and biochemical micro-environment when integrated with engineered micro-physiological systems (MPS). Compared with animal models, organoids are cultured without stroma, vasculature, and immune components. Compare with 2Dmodels, organoids can represent the tissue architecture and cellular heterogeneity found in tissues or tumors of their origin. Compared with 3D bioprinting and organ-on chip technologies (engineered constructs), organoids are self-organizing, meaning that they can recapitulate many of the complex cellular interactions just like an actual organ. Organoids can also be useful in future disease modeling and drug screening applications for assessing efficacy and safety.
Fig.1 Advantages and Disadvantages of Different 3D Cell Culture Techniques. (Fang, 2017)
Applications of Organoids
Organoids offer many exciting experimental applications in biomedical research, ranging from gaining a better understanding of human development to generating clinical models for disease modeling, drug testing and regenerative medicine.
Human developmental biology to examine organ development and tissue morphogenesis
Human disease modeling (including malignant, hereditary, and infectious diseases)
Test drug sensitivity, efficacy and toxicity
Potentially form complex tissues for transplantation
Developing personalized and regenerative medicine, tissue engineering
Fig.2 Multiple clinical applications of stem cell-derived organoids. (Dutta, 2017)
The Strengths of Different Organoids
Organoids of the intestine, liver, kidney and brain have all been successfully developed with the potential for future organoid systems that recapitulate organs, such as the heart and lungs.
Brain organoids share architecture and functions resembling the human brain and become a strong complement to the animal model in studying brain development and pathology, and developing new therapies to treat neurodevelopmental diseases.
Intestinal organoids are derived from patient-specific tissues expanded in vitro. They offer a valuable disease model to investigate mechanisms of disease, because the model itself is highly manipulatable, biologically relevant, and suitable for genetic manipulation, drug development, toxicity and personalized screening.
Hepatic or liver organoids are functional 3D in vitro models of the liver and serve as a novel platform to address diverse research questions pertinent to hepatic development and regeneration, detoxification and metabolism studies, liver disease modeling, drug screening and adult stem cell biology.
Kidney organoids are regarded as important tools for studying the mechanisms of kidney diseases, drug discovery and toxicological studies.
Pancreatic organoids show histology similarity to pancreatic ducts. They can be used to generate models to study pancreatic tumors, and develop drug candidates.
Organoids have been a revolution in disease modeling and drug discovery. As a top-class institution as well as an experienced supplier in biotech markets, Creative Biolabs has developed organoid culture systems that have been developed to model tissue structures from adult stem cell-containing tissue samples, single adult stem cells, or via the directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells to satisfy clients' special needs. We have experience in organoid development for a variety of tissues including intestinal, liver, pancreas, kidney, prostate, lung, and brain.
Fang, Y.; Eglen, R. M. Three-dimensional cell cultures in drug discovery and development. Slas discovery: Advancing Life Sciences R&D. 2017, 22(5): 456-472.
Dutta, D.; et al. Disease modeling in stem cell-derived 3D organoid systems. Trends in molecular medicine. 2017, 23(5): 393-410.