Studying the function of liver cancer genes in mini-organs

VIDEO: Human liver organoids after introduction of BAP1 mutation: a dramatic change of morphology (solid mass of cells instead of large lumen with single layer of cells around) and behaviour (more… view more 

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Researchers from the Hubrecht Institute and Radboud University have developed a human model in which they use organoids, or mini organs, to study the function of specific genes that are mutated in liver cancer. Using this method, they have found that mutations in BAP1, a gene commonly mutated in liver cancer, changes the behaviour of the cells, which may make them more likely to be invasive. Their results were published in the scientific journal Cell Stem Cell on the 23 of May.

Organoids and cancer research

Organoids are mini organs that can be grown in the lab, from a very small piece of tissue derived from a variety of organs. They have been used in cancer research for a few years, mainly by comparing organoids derived from healthy organs to those derived from tumors. This approach however is not suitable to investigate the function and the role of specific genes that are already known to be mutated in cancer. In order to learn more about tumor formation,


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