Drug discovery via human-derived stem cell organoids

Fangkun Liu, Jing Huang, Bo Ning, Zhixiong Liu, Shen Chen, Wei Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Patient-derived cell lines and animal models have proven invaluable for the understanding of human intestinal diseases and for drug development although both inherently comprise disadvantages and caveats. Many genetically determined intestinal diseases occur in specific tissue microenvironments that are not adequately modeled by monolayer cell culture. Likewise, animal models incompletely recapitulate the complex pathologies of intestinal diseases of humans and fall short in predicting the effects of candidate drugs. Patient-derived stem cell organoids are new and effective models for the development of novel targeted therapies. With the use of intestinal organoids from patients with inherited diseases, the potency and toxicity of drug candidates can be evaluated better. Moreover, owing to the novel clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated protein-9 genome-editing technologies, researchers can use organoids to precisely modulate human genetic status and identify pathogenesis-related genes of intestinal diseases. Therefore, here we discuss how patient-derived organoids should be grown and how advanced genome-editing tools may be applied to research on modeling of cancer and infectious diseases. We also highlight practical applications of organoids ranging from basic studies to drug screening and precision medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number334
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Issue numberSEP
StatePublished - Sep 22 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Organoid
  • Pluripotent stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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