WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Researchers from the University of Washington were able to use robots to produce human mini-organs, they call “organoids.”
- In a statement, the university explained the new mini-organs could be used for experimental research such as drug discovery to fight a certain disease.
- The scientists were excited at the speed and efficiency at which the robots were able to handle the task, according to Fox News.
The team from the UW School of Medicine used a robotic system to automatically grow stem cells into “organoids.”
“This is a new ‘secret weapon’ in our fight against disease,” said Asst. Professor of Medicine Benjamin Freedman of the Division of Nephrology.
Other scientists who worked with Freedman include Freedman lab scientists, Stefan Czerniecki and Nelly Cruz, and Asst. Professor of Internal Medicine Dr. Jennifer Harder of the University of Michigan.
The study, published in Science Daily, reads: “The system was tested in producing kidney organoids, including models of polycystic kidney disease. The robots were also programmed to analyze the organoids they produced.”
Previously, scientists were able to produce cells intended for medical research by “culturing them into flat sheets.” With the robots now in the picture, researchers are able to mass-produce the mini-organs at a much faster pace than before, Fox reported.
The scientists programmed the robots to handle liquids, and to put the stem cells into plates containing up to 384 miniature walls each. In just 21 days, the robots ultimately made them into kidney organoids.
“Each little microwell typically contained 10 or more organoids, and each plate contained thousands of organoids,” the university explained in a statement.
The researchers couldn’t be happier with how fast and efficient the robots were able to handle the procedure.
“Ordinarily, just setting up an experiment of this magnitude would take a researcher all day,” said Freedman. “The robot can do it in 20 minutes.”
“On top of that, the robot doesn’t get tired and make mistakes. There’s no question. For repetitive, tedious tasks like this, robots do a better job than humans,” he concluded.
Source: Fox News