Cellesce is working in collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the UK’s National Measurement Institute, to image and analyse its range of colorectal cancer organoids.

The collaboration is the result of a successful bid to ‘Analysis for Innovators’ – a £4M Innovate UK programme that offers access to funding and expertise to improve companies’ overall performance by offering measurement and analysis expertise to projects that can show a positive business impact through solving an existing problem.

Organoids are 3D in vitro cultures that can self-organise to mimic the organs from which they are derived. They are proving to be a relevant preclinical model for the study of cancer, especially in drug discovery. There is accumulating evidence that organoids grown in 3D are better at predicting efficacy than monolayer cell lines since they replicate key aspects of tumours such as genetic diversity, differentiation, multicellularity, drug penetration and signalling pathway interactions.

The work with NPL will seek to establish an in-house, rapid, quantitative, morphometric imaging method to validate and compare batches of organoids. This will provide the consistent quality assurance necessary for uptake of the model in the pharmaceutical industry. The analysis could potentially be translated into quantifying outputs from high-throughput screening assays as the new accepted standard for drug discovery.

“Currently, individual organoids can be imaged for academic research purposes but there remain significant unmet commercial and technical needs to translate this analysis into a high-throughput and internationally recognised industrial standard,” said Dr Mark Treherne, Cellesce CEO. “A new morphometric imaging standard would solve the current technical, medical and commercial problems we and others have experienced. An effective solution will be transformational for Cellesce and for enabling cancer drug discovery worldwide”.

Mike Shaw, Senior Research Scientist, Biometrology Group, National Physical Laboratory, said: “Organoids have great potential to improve our understanding of many biological and pathological processes. They can also help us to outline new tools for screening new therapeutic treatments. We are excited to be working with Cellesce to develop and apply state-of-the-art imaging and analysis techniques to characterise their tumour organoids and support the wider adoption of organoid technologies.”

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