Next-Gen 'Organoid' Technology Could Advance Transplants

Bioengineers at EPFL  have created miniature intestines in a dish that correspond anatomically and functionally to the real counterpart better than any other lab-grown tissue models. The biological complexity and longevity of the new organoid technology is an important step towards enabling drug testing, personalized medicine, and maybe even transplantations one day. The EPFL researchers have found a way to guide stem cells to form the intestinal organoid. They introduce a method that exploits the ability of stem cells to grow and organize themselves along a tube-shaped scaffold that mimics the surface of the native tissue, placed inside a microfluidic chip. The researchers used a laser to sculpt this intestinal-shaped scaffold within a hydrogel. Along with being the substrate on which the stem cells could grow, the hydrogel also provides the form that would build the final intestinal tissue.