Robots Sprout Organs from Human Stem Cells

Robots Sprout Organs from Human Stem Cells

Organoids derived from human pluripotent stem cells are a promising, potentially powerful tools for high-throughput screening (HTS), but the complexity of these organoid cultures poses a significant challenge for miniaturization and automation.

The scientists in the UW School of Medicine managed to utilize a robotic system to automate the process of developing stem cells to organoids.  The brand new mini-organs could be used for areas like drug discovery or fundamental research.

This is a new ‘secret weapon’ in our fight against disease,’ said Benjamin Freedman, who is a scientist at the UW Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, as well as at the Kidney Research Institute, a collaboration between the Northwest Kidney Centers and UW Medicine.

In the new study, the researchers employed a robotic system to automate the process for developing stem cells to organoids.  Though similar tactics have been effective with adult stem cells, this study in particular is the first record of successfully automating the production of organoids from pluripotent stem cells.  That cell type is flexible and capable of getting any sort of organ.

Within this procedure, the liquid-handling robots introduced the stem cells to plates which contained as many as

384 miniature tunnels each, then coaxed them to become kidney organoids more than 21 days.

Each tiny microwell typically contained a couple of organoids, and every plate comprised a huge number of organoids.  Using a rate that could have amazed Henry Ford’s automobile assembly line, the robots can create a lot of plates in a portion of this time.

These findings give us a better idea of the nature of these organoids and provide a baseline from which we can make improvements,” Freedman said. “The value of this high-throughput platform is that we can now alter our procedure at any point, in many different ways, and quickly see which of these changes produces a better result.”

Disha Padmanabha
In search of the perfect burger. Serial eater. In her spare time, practises her "Vader Voice". Passionate about dance. Real Weird.