The ethical side of mini-organs in the lab
20 May 2019
Mini-intestines, mini-kidneys and even mini-brains. These promising organoids are increasingly grown in the laboratory.
On the one hand to predict whether medication will work in a specific patient and on the other to develop new medication. But who actually owns those organoids: the patient, the researcher, the hospital or a commercial company? On May 16, Sarah Boers obtained her PhD at the University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht on the ethics of organoid technology.
Imagine you have cystic fibrosis, which is a serious hereditary condition. Your physician asks you if you want to take part in a study: they take a rectal biopsy and grow this biopsy into an intestinal organoids in the lab. This is a mini-intestine, on which new medications against cystic fibrosis can be tested. You do not have to think about this for a minute. Of...