The search for new ways to treat various diseases is urgent and complex. However, the scientist developed a tool that sounds more like a SciFi movie scenario. Namely, they developed organoids which are mini-organs that can help scientists examine how new treatments affect specific organs, among others.
Steadily, we are approaching a future full of robots, regenerative medicine, medical tests with high-tech biosensors, synthetic organs such as organoids, and so on.
This is also the case with organoids, specifically designed with human tissues to perform all kinds of tests.
“Organoids are collections of cells in a support, like a plaque, that resemble a tissue or organ in the body,” explained Dr. Benjamin Freedman, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington and an expert on kidney organoids.
“They come in all shapes and sizes and they are much smaller than a real organ, and generally do not have all the parts that are typical of that organ. In fact, if we are not told that we are in front of a mini-organ, it would be very difficult to identify it as such,” he added.
“To make them, we grow cells from the organ or stem cells that can grow to form it.”
The use of organoids will help scientists look for new treatments
Although one might think that these organoids are the precursor of an organ to be transplanted, as if it were a kind of spare organ, for now, that option is far from becoming a reality.
Organoids will help researchers analyze how a drug or treatment affects specific organs.
The researchers still don’t totally understand how different organs are formed and how diseases affect them. Organoids are helpful in uncovering the answer to these questions.
With the use of these models, unexpected results can be achieved. In Dr. Freedman’s lab, for example, the researchers obtained interesting outcomes.
“We found that a protein, which we generally consider to be involved in muscle contraction, may also be important in keeping the kidney in shape and preventing hyperplasia from occurring,” said Dr. Freedman.
As they’ve admitted, the researchers didn’t expect it and said they wouldn’t have found that if they didn’t have the organoids technology.