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Organoid research

Organoids are cell-derived in vitro 3D organ models and allow the study of biological processes, such as cell behaviour, tissue repair and response to drugs or mutations, in an environment that mimics endogenous cell organisation and organ structures. Starting as a major technological breakthrough they are now firmly established as an essential tool in biological research and also have important implications for clinical use. A major advantage is that organoids can be grown from a limited supply of starting material, e.g. biopsies, and used for drug screening to develop individual therapies. They have further shown potential in the modelling of diseases, gene editing and transplantations and not least helped to answer many important biological questions. Efforts are underway to setup cryopreserved biobanks of human organoids as a resource for researchers and clinicians.

Editorial and comment

  • Nature Cell Biology | Editorial

    Organoid technologies offer unique insights into the biological processes of the tissues they mimic and are being developed at a rapid pace. Here, we introduce a Collection of content from across the Nature Journals, outlining recent progress and challenges in the organoid field.

  • Nature Cell Biology | Comment

    Current advances in biotechnology open up unprecedented possibilities to transform human tissues into complex, valuable tissue products, such as organoids. Here, we propose consent for governance as a leading paradigm for the derivation, storage and use of complex human tissue products to ensure adjustment to changing ethical requirements.

    • Sarah N. Boers
    •  &  Annelien L. Bredenoord
  • Nature Cell Biology | Editorial

    Advances in stem cell research offer unprecedented insights into human biology and opportunities for clinical translation. They also raise many questions with social and ethical implications.

Research articles

  • Nature Cell Biology | Article

    Cruz-Acuña et al. develop synthetic hydrogels that support the generation and expansion of viable human intestinal organoids from pluripotent stem cells and can be used as injectable vehicles for organoid engraftment and wound healing.

    • Ricardo Cruz-Acuña
    • , Miguel Quirós
    • , Attila E. Farkas
    • , Priya H. Dedhia
    • , Sha Huang
    • , Dorothée Siuda
    • , Vicky García-Hernández
    • , Alyssa J. Miller
    • , Jason R. Spence
    • , Asma Nusrat
    •  &  Andrés J. García
  • Nature Cell Biology | Article

    Leushacke et al. provide insights into the role of Lgr5 cells in the oxyntic stomach, demonstrating that they label a subpopulation of chief cells that function as reserve stem cells during regeneration and cells-of-origin of gastric cancer.

    • Marc Leushacke
    • , Si Hui Tan
    • , Angeline Wong
    • , Yada Swathi
    • , Amin Hajamohideen
    • , Liang Thing Tan
    • , Jasmine Goh
    • , Esther Wong
    • , Simon L. I. J. Denil
    • , Kazuhiro Murakami
    •  &  Nick Barker
  • Nature Cell Biology | Letter

    Chen et al. generate lung bud organoids from human pluripotent stem cells that recapitulate early lung development, such as branching airway formation and early alveolar structures, which could potentially be used to model lung disease.

    • Ya-Wen Chen
    • , Sarah Xuelian Huang
    • , Ana Luisa Rodrigues Toste de Carvalho
    • , Siu-Hong Ho
    • , Mohammad Naimul Islam
    • , Stefano Volpi
    • , Luigi D. Notarangelo
    • , Michael Ciancanelli
    • , Jean-Laurent Casanova
    • , Jahar Bhattacharya
    • , Alice F. Liang
    • , Laura M. Palermo
    • , Matteo Porotto
    • , Anne Moscona
    •  &  Hans-Willem Snoeck
  • Nature Cell Biology | Technical Report

    Turco et al. derive long-term genetically stable organoids from normal endometrium and the decidua that recapitulate characteristics of in vivo uterine glands, respond to hormones and differentiate into secretory and ciliated endometrial cells.

    • Margherita Y. Turco
    • , Lucy Gardner
    • , Jasmine Hughes
    • , Tereza Cindrova-Davies
    • , Maria J. Gomez
    • , Lydia Farrell
    • , Michael Hollinshead
    • , Steven G. E. Marsh
    • , Jan J. Brosens
    • , Hilary O. Critchley
    • , Benjamin D. Simons
    • , Myriam Hemberger
    • , Bon-Kyoung Koo
    • , Ashley Moffett
    •  &  Graham J. Burton
  • Nature Cell Biology | Article

    Kaminski et al. demonstrate that combined expression of the transcription factors Emx2, Hnf1b, Hnf4a and Pax8 converts mouse and human fibroblasts into induced renal tubular epithelial cells.

    • Michael M. Kaminski
    • , Jelena Tosic
    • , Catena Kresbach
    • , Hannes Engel
    • , Jonas Klockenbusch
    • , Anna-Lena Müller
    • , Roman Pichler
    • , Florian Grahammer
    • , Oliver Kretz
    • , Tobias B. Huber
    • , Gerd Walz
    • , Sebastian J. Arnold
    •  &  Soeren S. Lienkamp
  • Nature | Article

    Organoids derived from individual cells from colorectal cancers and adjacent normal tissue are used to investigate intra-tumour diversification at the genomic, epigenetic and functional levels.

    • Sophie F. Roerink
    • , Nobuo Sasaki
    • , Henry Lee-Six
    • , Matthew D. Young
    • , Ludmil B. Alexandrov
    • , Sam Behjati
    • , Thomas J. Mitchell
    • , Sebastian Grossmann
    • , Howard Lightfoot
    • , David A. Egan
    • , Apollo Pronk
    • , Niels Smakman
    • , Joost van Gorp
    • , Elizabeth Anderson
    • , Stephen J. Gamble
    • , Chris Alder
    • , Marc van de Wetering
    • , Peter J. Campbell
    • , Michael R. Stratton
    •  &  Hans Clevers

Reviews and Perspectives

  • Nature Cell Biology | Review Article

    Barker and colleagues review the history and recent developments of organoid cultures derived from pluripotent stem cells and adult epithelia, and discuss how the technology can be used for basic research as well as translational applications.

    • Aliya Fatehullah
    • , Si Hui Tan
    •  &  Nick Barker
  • Nature Reviews Cancer | Review Article

    In this Review, Drost and Clevers discuss the recent advances in organoid models of cancer and how they can be exploited to drive the translation of basic cancer research into novel patient-specific treatment regimens in the clinic.

    • Jarno Drost
    •  &  Hans Clevers
  • Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology | Review Article

    The development of indefinitely propagating human 'mini-guts' has led to a rapid advance in gastrointestinal research. This Review highlights the uses of enteroids, colonoids and organoids in functional transport physiology studies and host–pathogen studies.

    • Julie G. In
    • , Jennifer Foulke-Abel
    • , Mary K. Estes
    • , Nicholas C. Zachos
    • , Olga Kovbasnjuk
    •  &  Mark Donowitz
  • Nature Reviews Neuroscience | Review Article

    By capturing and manipulating the self-organizing capacity of pluripotent stem cells, researchers have established protocols for the production of in vitro brain-like 'organoids'. Di Lullo and Kriegstein evaluate approaches to organoid generation and consider their potential as models of brain development and disease.

    • Elizabeth Di Lullo
    •  &  Arnold R. Kriegstein