The past few years has seen an explosion in the number of studies using organoids – so-called ‘mini organs’. While they can help scientists understand human biology and disease, some in the field have questioned their usefulness. But as the field matures, we could see their increasing use in personalised and regenerative medicine.
Scientists have shown in mice that skin cells re-programmed into brain stem cells, transplanted into the central nervous system, help reduce inflammation and may be able to help repair damage caused by multiple sclerosis (MS).
Scientists have created mini biological models of human primary liver cancers, known as organoids, in the lab for the first time. In a paper published in Nature Medicine, the tiny laboratory models of tumours were used to identify a new drug that could potentially treat certain types of liver cancer.
Nanobots that patrol our bodies, killer immune cells hunting and destroying cancer cells, biological scissors that cut out defective genes: these are just some of technologies that Cambridge researchers are developing which are set to revolutionise medicine in the future.
In the centenary year of the publication of a seminal treatise on the physical and mathematical principles underpinning nature – On Growth and Form by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson – a Cambridge physicist has led a study describing an elegantly simple solution to a puzzle that has taxed biologists for centuries: how complex branching patterns of tissues arise.
Artificial bile ducts grown in lab and transplanted into mice could help treat liver disease in children03 Jul 2017
Cambridge scientists have developed a new method for growing and transplanting artificial bile ducts that could in future be used to help treat liver disease in children, reducing the need for liver transplantation.
It is almost impossible for an injured heart to fully mend itself. Within minutes of being deprived of oxygen – as happens during a heart attack when arteries to the heart are blocked – the heart’s muscle cells start to die. Sanjay Sinha wants to mend these hearts so that they work again.
Scientists have shown how the precursors of egg and sperm cells – the cells that are key to the preservation of a species – arise in the early embryo by studying pig embryos alongside human stem cells.
Scientists have uncovered why Zika virus may specifically target neural stem cells in the developing brain, potentially leading to microcephaly – a potentially serious birth defect where the brain fails to develop properly, leading to a smaller head.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge have succeeded in growing miniature functional models of the lining of the womb (uterus) in culture. These organoids, as they are known, could provide new insights into the early stages of pregnancy and conditions such as endometriosis, a painful condition that affects as many as two million women in the UK.