Organoids offer new research opportunities


Endometrial diseases can be imitated in a lab dish, study shows.


An organoid grown from endometrial cancer tissue of a patient. The different colours indicate the depth of the microscopic scan.

KU Leuven Stem Cell and Developmental Biology / Indra Van Zundert

This is an organoid – a three-dimensional cell structure – grown from the diseased tissue of patients by biomedical researchers in Belgium.

They hope it (and others) will provide a new way to study diseases of the endometrium, the innermost lining layer of the uterus.

"We now have a biobank of organoids from endometrium in healthy and diseased conditions,” says senior author Hugo Vankelecom, from Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven.

“This can help us discover how an aberrantly functioning endometrium causes infertility and then look for treatments.”

The findings are reported in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

Vankelecom and colleagues developed organoids from a healthy endometrium in 2017. In the new study they have created them from a range of endometrial diseases, including endometriosis, which affects one in 10 women in their fertile years, and endometrial cancer.

"Our study shows that endometrial cancer organoids of different patients are each in a specific way sensitive to chemotherapeutic drugs,” Vankelecom says.

“Further research will show whether such tests can be of help in the clinical treatment of individual patients.”

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  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/endometrium
  2. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41556-019-0360-z
  3. https://nieuws.kuleuven.be/en/content/2017/threedimensional_model_of_uterus_inner_lining_in_a_dish
  4. https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/periods/endometriosis
  5. https://endometrial-cancer.canceraustralia.gov.au/
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