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Strategies for maximising organoid growth

Published 2 January 2024 by Sean Butler

The growing importance of organoid research

The ability to replicate complex cellular interactions within organoids allows researchers to study organ development, disease pathology, and drug responses in a more realistic context. Organoids serve as a powerful tool for disease modeling, offering insights into the molecular and cellular aspects of various disorders. Moreover, they play a crucial role in drug discovery and development by providing a platform for high-throughput screening and personalised medicine approaches. Organoid research even has the potential to revolutionise regenerative medicine, as these structures can be used for transplantation and tissue engineering. Overall, the importance of organoid research lies in its ability to bridge the gap between traditional cell cultures and in vivo models, offering a versatile and sophisticated platform for advancing biomedical knowledge and improving clinical outcomes. However, unlocking the full potential of organoids requires mastering the art of their growth - a task that demands precision, consistency, and innovation.

In this blog post, we'll explore some of the key strategies to optimise organoid growth and how an automated 3D cell culture bioreactor can help pave the way for more accurate and impactful research.

1. Enhance nutrient delivery

The foundation of successful organoid growth lies here. Tailor your media composition to provide the necessary nutrients, growth factors, and signalling molecules. Regularly replenish the media to ensure a constant supply of essential elements that support cell proliferation and differentiation.

A well-designed nutrient delivery system ensures the availability of essential factors like growth factors, amino acids, and vitamins, crucial for cellular proliferation, differentiation, and overall organoid homeostasis. Additionally, optimal nutrient supply contributes to the reproducibility of organoid cultures, reducing variability and improving experimental outcomes. As nutrient availability directly influences cellular metabolism, enhancing nutrient delivery can enhance organoid functionality and better model physiological responses to external stimuli or diseases. Moreover, it is essential for drug testing and screening applications, where accurate representation of organ function relies on maintaining cellular health through proper nutrient support.

A 3D cell culture bioreactor, such as the CERO 3D, can also help facilitate efficient nutrient delivery to the growing organoids - crucial for sustaining cell viability, promoting growth, and supporting the complex cellular interactions that drive organoid development.

2. Mimic optimal conditions

Culturing organoids under physiologically relevant and stable conditions ensures the faithful representation of organ development and functionality. Monitoring temperature, pH and CO2 levels is of vital importance, as fluctuations in these parameters can disrupt cellular processes, so invest in equipment that allows for accurate control.

CERO 3D helps to mimic the natural conditions under which the organs being modelled would develop, while monitoring and controlling temperature, pH and CO2 levels. Such mimetic conditions not only enhance the accuracy of disease modeling but also facilitate the identification of novel therapeutic targets and the testing of drug responses.

3. Select a quality cell source

Selecting a high-quality cell source is paramount for successful organoid growth and functionality. The choice of cells significantly influences the reproducibility, reliability, and translational relevance of the resulting organoids. Choose well-characterised and high-quality stem cells or tissue-derived cells with the capacity for self-renewal and differentiation. Regularly verify the identity and purity of cell lines to prevent contamination and ensure the fidelity of your organoid model.

4. Utilise three-dimensional culture techniques

Organoids, miniature 3D structures that replicate the architecture and function of organs, benefit significantly from 3D culture systems that allow cells to interact in a manner that closely mimics the in vivo conditions. Unlike 2D cultures, which often lack the spatial and mechanical cues necessary for proper cell differentiation and tissue organisation, 3D cultures support the self-organisation of cells into complex structures that better resemble native tissues. This approach facilitates the recreation of intricate cellular interactions, enhancing the accuracy of disease modeling and drug screening. Furthermore, 3D culture techniques promote cell-cell communication, nutrient gradients, and oxygen diffusion, crucial factors for organoid development and maturation. The adoption of 3D culture methods is pivotal for advancing organoid research, as they provide a more realistic platform for studying organ development, disease mechanisms, and drug responses, ultimately contributing to the improvement of biomedical knowledge and therapeutic interventions.

5. Monitor and adjust regularly

Regular monitoring is a fundamental aspect of cultivating organoids. Continuous observation and assessment throughout the growth process enable researchers to ensure the reproducibility, viability, and functionality of organoids. Monitoring parameters such as size, morphology, and cellular composition help in gauging the success of the culture and identifying any deviations or anomalies. Regular inspections also allow for the detection of potential issues such as contamination or suboptimal nutrient conditions, enabling timely interventions to maintain the health and integrity of the organoids. Additionally, monitoring provides insights into the dynamic changes occurring within the organoids, supporting the optimisation of culture conditions for enhanced growth and maturation. The data gathered through regular monitoring are crucial for the standardisation of protocols and the establishment of quality control measures, ensuring the reliability of organoid-based research outcomes. In conclusion, the importance of regular monitoring for organoid growth cannot be overstated, as it safeguards the integrity of experiments, enhances reproducibility, and contributes to the overall success of organoid-based studies across various biomedical applications.

CERO 3D integrates sensors and imaging capabilities, allowing researchers to observe more accurately leading to better-informed decision-making and culture conditions adjustments as needed.

6. Utilise automation for consistency

Automation plays a pivotal role in advancing organoid research by streamlining and enhancing the growth process. Organoids, intricate 3D tissue structures replicating organ characteristics, often demand meticulous and repetitive tasks, which are prone to human error and variability. Automated systems alleviate these challenges by providing precise control over parameters such as nutrient delivery, temperature, pH and CO2 levels. This not only ensures consistency in organoid culture conditions but also minimises the risk of contamination, ultimately improving the reproducibility of experiments. 

In summary, the integration of automation in organoid growth processes is crucial for overcoming practical challenges and enhancing experimental reliability.

The role of advanced technolgies such as CERO 3D

Optimising organoid growth is a dynamic and iterative process that requires plenty of attention to detail, therefore the benefits of using advanced technologies like CERO 3D cannot be overstated.

Offering improved maturation with no embedding substrate required, the CERO 3D significantly reduces apoptosis and necrosis resulting in the highest levels of viability and homogeneity, thus making it the smart choice when it comes to 3D cell culture bioreactors. Find out more about how CERO 3D could revolutionise your organoid research.

By harnessing its precision, automation, and real-time monitoring capabilities, researchers can propel organoid growth to new heights, unlocking the full potential of these remarkable 3D cellular models. As we continue to refine our understanding of organoid biology, technologies such as CERO 3D stand as a beacon, guiding us towards a future where organoids revolutionise medicine and pave the way for personalised therapeutic interventions.