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  1. Ethical Science News

  2. Jun 1, 2018

Researchers Create Mini-Organs from Human Stem Cells

Study in a Sentence:

Researchers at the University of Washington have established a robotic system to manufacture and analyze human kidney three-dimensional mini-organs called organoids in microwell arrays to improve basic research, drug discovery, assess toxicity, and better understand complex diseases.

Healthy for Humans:

This human-relevant system can be used to study the effect therapeutic drugs have on different diseases. In one experiment, researchers produced organoids with mutations that cause polycystic kidney disease. Researchers then exposed the polycystic kidney disease organoids to a variety of different substances and found that a particular protein blocker significantly increased the number and size of cysts. This result was unexpected but it opened a new avenue for researchers to look into.

Redefining Research:

This high-throughput screening platform using robots dramatically increases the speeds at which human stem cells can be plated in the microwell arrays, differentiated into organoids, and analyzed. This platform also allows researchers to increase the quality of organoid development, such as expanding the number of blood vessel cells in the organoids to make them more like real human kidneys.



  1. Czerniecki SM, Cruz NM, Harder JL, et al. High-throughput screening enhances kidney organoid differentiation from human pluripotent stem cells and enable automated multidimensional phenotyping. Cell Stem Cell. 2018;22;929-940.

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