What we do

Using state of the art technologies we facilitate the development and analysis of organoids to tackle big questions in biomedical research. This includes creating individualised models of patient’s own tissues that allows causes of disease to be analysed and potential treatments to be tested.

Projects utilising organoids include:

Precision oncology

We establish tumour organoids from cancer tissue donated by patients. Tumour organoids can be expanded into large numbers and retain the properties of the original cancer tissue. They are utilised to study the biology of cancers, cell responses to specific therapies and may allow the likely response of individual patients to therapies to be determined.

Our flagship programs have generated a bioresource of:

  • Over 200 human colorectal organoid lines (normal and tumour)
  • Over 20 human breast organoid lines (normal and tumour)

Our organoid lines are linked to detailed clinical databases.

Studying organ development and function of stem cells

Organoids provide the opportunity to study tissue development and function by culturing tiny versions of key organs. This creates an opportunity to explore how tissues develop and grow as well as recovering from injury.

Modelling infection and disease

Organoids can be created from diseased cells to produce a tissue model for studying mechanisms that underpin different conditions and disorders.  Genetic modification of organoids can also generate models which contain disease-causing genetic mutations. Gastrointestinal organoids are utilised to study the interaction of microbes with host tissue, and how pathogens cause tissue damage.

We have established:

  • Over 70 human small intestinal and colonic organoid lines (normal and diseased i.e. inflammatory bowel disease, necrotising enterocolitis)
  • Protocols for studying mechanisms of infection

Drug discovery

Culturing organoids provides an opportunity to revolutionise drug discovery as “mini-organs” can be expanded into large numbers in multi-well formats. This permits high throughput drug sensitivity assays to test both known and novel compounds. This also paves the way for determining the likelihood of an individual patient responding to a treatment before they receive it in the clinic.