A team of scientists at the University of Cambridge has developed an artificial mouse embryo-like structure capable of forming the three major axes of the body. The technique, reported today in the journal Nature, could reduce the use of mammalian embryos in research.
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 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.
A new model of fatal brain diseases is being developed in the fruit fly by a team led by Dr Raymond Bujdoso at the University of Cambridge, and could lead to a low cost, fast and efficient blood test to diagnose – and prevent possible transmission of – variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).
Cambridge research that has for the first time successfully grown “mini-livers” from adult mouse stem cells has won the UK’s international prize for the scientific and technological advance with the most potential to replace, reduce or refine the use of animals in science (the 3Rs).