Sep 23 / 2021
Latest News / Editorial/ Innovation

Synthetic Gel allows growth of Pancreatic Organoids

MIT researchers have devised a way for growing organoids from healthy and cancerous pancreatic tissue using a synthetic gel that closely replicates the extracellular environment of the pancreas

Synthetic gel is more uniform from batch to batch than organically produced materials, resulting in more repeatable and predictable outcomes when growing organoids. The researchers at MIT believe that the new technique will help enhance organoid research in general, including pancreatic research.

It’s difficult to cultivate and analyse cancerous pancreatic tissues in the lab since they rapidly lose their cancerous features. Due to pancreatic cancer’s horrible prognosis, tissue culture models that accurately mimic the cancer in the laboratory would be extremely helpful in developing a mechanistic knowledge of the disease and discovering novel therapies.

The use of organoids in tissue research has a lot of appeal. They mimic tissues in the body considerably better than basic cell monolayers grown on tissue culture plastic because of their self-assembly and three-dimensional structure. Organoids, on the other hand, aren’t always simple to develop.

When working with such tissue samples, it’s critical to keep the environment under control. In these tissue culture methods, natural materials utilised to imitate the tissue microenvironment are frequently obtained from mice tumours and might include environmental contaminants. As a result, reproducible tests are difficult to conduct because of batch variations.

“The issue of reproducibility is a major one,” said Linda Griffith, a researcher involved in the study. “The research community has been looking for ways to do more methodical cultures of these kinds of organoids, and especially to control the microenvironment.”

integrins help cells in the gel to attach to the polyethylene glycol (PEG)-based gel produced by the researchers. PEG is frequently used in medicine and is combined with extracellular matrix components such as integrins.

To date, the MIT team has tried the novel approach on both cancerous and healthy mouse pancreas cells, and has been able to generate pancreatic organoids from both. Researchers want to use the approach to learn more about pancreatic cancer and test novel therapies in a more realistic setting.

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Synthetic Gel allows growth of Pancreatic Organoids