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Diabetes through a 3D lens: organoid models – published online 27/03/2020

Anastasia Tsakmaki, Patricia Fonseca Pedro, Gavin A. Bewick

Disease modelling is a cornerstone of translational medicine and drug discovery. However, meeting future healthcare challenges will require models that more accurately mimic disease pathology. Organoid technology, developed over the last decade, has enabled the long-term culture of stem cell-derived 3D tissue cultures that closely mirror their tissue of origin. Organoids have increased fidelity compared with traditional tissue culture methods and present a tantalising opportunity to supercharge our understanding of disease. In this issue, Tsakmaki et al (https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-020-05126-3) review organoid technology and discuss the opportunities these mini organs have to offer researchers in the diabetes field. The authors provide a brief overview of the development of organoids from tissues important for glucose homeostasis and those associated with diabetic complications and discuss how they could be utilised. Organoid technology is likely to facilitate a greater understanding of the pathophysiology of diabetes at the cellular and tissue levels and aid the identification of novel pathways for drug development. The figures from this review are available as a downloadable slideset.

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