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Alternative methods

12 - 11 - 2018

Organoids or ex vivo research

Organoids are now an indispensable tool in biomedical research that reduce the need for animal experiments.



The research teams of the National Institute for Agricultural Research, INRA, have published a dossier on organoids, new tools in biological and medical research that they develop and use.


Organoids are miniature organs grown in vitro. They are an intermediary between cell cultures and animals.


They are obtained from stem cells derived from the model organism studied. These cells are grown in a medium rich in substances that promote multiplication, differentiation and morphogenesis.





The discovery of the stem cells' potential, and the means to use it, has led in less than a decade to the creation of organoids of the intestine, retina, liver, kidney or brain .


The authors cite the contribution of organoids in their research (interaction between a parasite or the microbiota and the surface of the intestine) and more broadly in biomedical research:

               - obtaining cells and tissues for cell therapies and transplants

               - modeling cancerous organs for cancer research 

               - modeling of genetic diseases


Finally, the authors state that even though organoids do not yet fully reproduce an organ, they are continuously improving, and already provide a lot of scientific information that cannot otherwise be obtained, and they reduce the need for animal studies by allowing pre-testing ex vivo.