Current and future applications for intestinal organoid culture models

Abstract: The long-term culture of intestinal organoids (heterogeneous 3-D cultures retaining adult progenitor cells) is a recently emerging technology that has led to the generation of a range of new patient derived cell models. The ability to maintain organoids through continual passage depended upon defined media and culture conditions that were adaptations of advances in ES and iPS cell culture. Indeed, organoid models are now widely considered as filling the space between cell lines grown on plastic (in 2D), and organ slice culture systems.

Using these advances, we generated and characterised a set of patient-derived primary colorectal cancer organoids across a range of tumour grades in collaboration with a number of partners. Using our experiences of establishing an intestinal organoid pipeline we will outline the techniques available for the long-term culture of intestinal cells from both tumour and normal tissue.

We will also discuss the applications for novel organoid models in advancing drug discovery, in regenerative medicine, in fundamental biology research, and in future clinical screening paradigms. All of which will require a continuing evolution of organoid culture methodology, characterization, and analysis platforms in order to fully realise their future potential.

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