Cellesce launches colorectal tumour organoids

Organoid bioprocessing company Cellesce has formally launched and published the supporting data package for its first range of colorectal organoids. Based on three and a half years of bioprocess development research, Business News Wales reports that Cellesce has now successfully grown, reliably expanded and characterised a range of ten novel organoids. Ethically derived from colorectal cancer patients, these organoids open up exciting new opportunities for further oncology research and compound library screening for drug discovery.

Colorectal cancer (CRC), is the development of cancer from the large bowel, which accounts for over 9% of all cancers. It is the third most common cancer worldwide and the fourth most common cause of death, especially in people over sixty. More common in developed countries with an ageing population, the high level of incidence and unmet medical need makes colorectal cancer an active area of research, which the successful development of Cellesce’s organoid technology is enabling, especially in drug discovery.

Cancer organoids are derived from tumours that are grown on in a research lab. Cancer cells divide and cluster to grow into miniature clusters that preserve many of the features of the original tumour, including similar three dimensional morphology. Most importantly, they show drug responses that are similar to that of the tumours from which they are derived. This offers transformational possibilities for medical research and drug discovery. Organoids can become an inexhaustible supply of miniature tumours for pre-clinical research. The unmet medical need in colorectal cancer is for drug testing systems that better predict patient responses to new compounds including antibodies and small molecule therapeutics.

With initial funding from Innovate UK and NC3Rs, Cellesce has taken an idea, which emanated from the University of Bath, and together with colleagues at Cardiff University, has built a novel, proprietary bioprocessing technology to bypass the bottleneck of scaled up organoid production. This bioreactor platform allows for organoid expansion, ensuring that there is a plentiful supply of organoids of sufficient quality to enable their use by the pharmaceutical industry and research institutes worldwide. Cellesce’s bioreactors deliver a valuable technological solution that promises to enable the widespread adoption of tumour organoids by the research community.

Cellesce’s initial offering of ten colorectal cancer organoid lines have each been DNA profiled and quality assured for consistency, viability after freezing and uniform size. Organoids are frozen and stored in cryovials and are shipped worldwide with instructions for their in vitro research use. Tumour-derived organoids are characterised for their pharmacological responses to a standard set of compounds as part of the quality control process.

Cellesce Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Marianne Ellis, said “These colorectal cancer organoids represent the first product made using our successful and novel bioprocessing expansion technology. We are now moving on to develop normal healthy colorectal organoids to provide a valuable resource from non-cancerous controls for the compound screening, as well as for basic gastrointestinal research.”

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