Summary of The Organoid Architect

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  • Innovative
  • Scientific


No, this isn’t science fiction – but the breakthroughs this Science magazine article describes are as new and exciting. It helps that writer Gunjan Sinha opens with a life and death story, but the possibilities organoids offer are so immense the article doesn’t really need the hook. Who wouldn’t get excited over the possibility of growing “mini-organs” to help test medications for people with serious diseases or failing organs? The fact that organoids allow highly personalized medical treatment and can be stored easily makes them that much more intriguing. getAbstract recommends this article to anyone interested in health, medicine, science or, yes, science fiction.

About the Author

Gunjan Sinha is a freelance writer living in Germany. She has written on science for Wired, Scientific American, Science, and other publications.



How did a patient convince her insurance company to cover expensive treatment?

Els van der Heijden has cystic fibrosis (CF). By the time she turned 50, her condition had gotten so bad, she felt the end was near. One new drug used to treat CF, Orkambi (active pharmaceutical ingredients: ivacaftor and lumacaftor), is so expensive that insurance companies won’t cover it without proof it will work for the individual patient.

During a biopsy, a little tissue was taken from Van der Heijden to grow a miniature version of her gut, an “organoid.” In the laboratory, the organoid responded well to the drug treatment, so insurers agreed to cover the treatment of the patient. She felt better within weeks after drug treatment commenced.

What findings led researchers to create organoids?

Van der Heiden...

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