Robotics is primed to revolutionize the healthcare industry in the near future and another milestone research has been achieved by a group of scientists at the University of Washington Health Sciences, paving way for robotic systems to automatically produce mini-organs for humans from stem cells. With this, the possibilities of mass producing organoids at a rapid rate has escalated, promising to radically improve drug discovery procedures.
The system has always been tested for the production of kidney organoids, which included model of diseases of polycystic kidney. This advancements has shown great potential to expand the usage of mini-organs for basic research, and may act as a secret weapon to counter diseases, according to the assistant professor of medicine – Benjamin Freedman. The lead author of the fresh study has highlighted that moving beyond traditional way of growing cells is now possible, with researchers successfully managing to grow three-dimensional structures that are more complex than ever before, called as organoids or mini-organs.
While resemblance to rudimentary organs and behaving similarly had been achieved via mini-organs and were ideal for biomedical research, the challenge that remained to be overcome was of mass production. Now, robotics systems can automate the procedures, producing versatile and able cell types. The researchers are training the robots to become capable of analyzing mini-organs they are producing, using the latest technique called as single cell RNA sequencing. The most revolutionary aspect of using robotics for producing organoids is the flexibility to alter the procedure at any time, in different direction, and observe the changes on the run-time.
During the experiment, the scientists subjected polycystic kidney disease mini-organs to various substances and found out that a factors known as blebbistatin is responsible for blocking the protein called as myosin that essentially leads to the increase in number and size of cysts.