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May 21, 2019

Will the automated expansion of organoids help improve the productivity of cancer drug discovery?

Increasingly, complex cell-based assays and tissues are routinely used as part of cancer drug discovery. However, conventional monolayer or suspension cultures can be poorly predictive of the relevant therapeutic effects on a patient’s tumour. As a result, many apparently attractive new drug candidates subsequently fail to meet their primary endpoints in clinical trials.

Tumour-derived organoids have the potential to be more predictive earlier in discovery and thus reduce the high rate of compound attrition in downstream development.

Tumour-derived organoids have typically been produced in small volumes in specialist research laboratories, using labour-intensive manual processes. Production capacity is constrained and there can be significant batch-to-batch variation. Scalable bioprocessing technologies for the expansion of organoids are now emerging to overcome the bottlenecks of these conventional manual processes.

This article will review the challenges and solutions required to expand human cancer organoids to meet the growing demand for the large-scale production of organoids in drug discovery.

Original article by Dr Mark Treherne, Dr Marianne Ellis, Professor Trevor Dale, Dr Luned Badder & Dr Andrew Hollins

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