Human organoids: a new dimension in cell biology

Mol Biol Cell. 2019 May 1;30(10):1129-1137. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E19-03-0135.


Organoids derived from stem cells or tissues in culture can develop into structures that resemble the in vivo anatomy and physiology of intact organs. Human organoid cultures provide the potential to study human development and model disease processes with the same scrutiny and depth of analysis customary for research with nonhuman model organisms. Resembling the complexity of the actual tissue or organ, patient-derived human organoid studies may accelerate medical research, creating new opportunities for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, generating knowledge and tools for preclinical studies, including drug development and testing. Biologists are drawn to this system as a new "model organism" to study complex disease phenotypes and genetic variability among individuals using patient-derived tissues. The American Society for Cell Biology convened a task force to report on the potential, challenges, and limitations for human organoid research. The task force suggests ways to ease the entry for new researchers into the field and how to facilitate broader use of this new model organism within the research community. This includes guidelines for reproducibility, culturing, sharing of patient materials, patient consent, training, and communication with the public.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Organoids / cytology
  • Organoids / metabolism*
  • Organoids / physiology*
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stem Cells
  • Tissue Engineering / methods