Complex organ models grown in labChristian Fernsby ▼ | November 20, 2019
Scientists from the University of Würzburg have now taken a major step towards complex organoids.
Health University of Würzburg
In an article published in the journal "Scientific Reports" in early November 2019, the two researchers present the results of their work.
Mesodermal stem cells make miniature organs complete
"We used a trick to achieve our goal," explains Philipp Wörsdörfer.
"First we created so-called mesodermal progenitor cells from pluripotent stem cells." Under the right conditions, such progenitor cells are capable of producing blood vessels, immune cells and connective tissue cells.
To demonstrate the potential of the mesodermal progenitor cells, the scientists then mixed these cells with tumour cells as well as with brain stem cells that had previously been generated from human iPS cells.
This mixture grew to form complex three-dimensional tumour or brain organoids in the Petri dish featuring functional blood vessels, connective tissue, and in the case of the brain tissue, also brain-specific immune cells, the so-called microglia cells.
"In the future, the miniature organ models generated with this new technique can help scientists shed light on the processes involved in the genesis of diseases and analyse the effect of therapeutic substances in more detail before using them on animals and human patients," says Süleyman Ergün.
This would allow the number of animal experiments to be reduced.
Moreover, the organ models could contribute to gaining a better understanding of embryonic development processes and grow tissue that can be transplanted efficiently since they already have a functional vascular system. ■