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Stem cell-based organoids as avatars in human disease
Speaker: Professor Hans Clevers
Hans Clevers is a group leader at the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research and professor of Molecular Genetics at the University Medical Center Utrecht and Utrecht University. He is also Director Research of the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology and Oncode Investigator.
The Clevers group studies the biology of Wnt signalling in tissue turnover and in cancer. The discovery of Lgr5 as a generic marker of Wnt-dependent stem cells within multiple adult tissues has led to the development of technology to grow these stem cells into ever-expanding epithelial organoids. These organoids recapitulate many aspects of their tissue of origin and allow the study of a multitude of physiological and pathological processes. Patient-derived organoids hold promise to predict drug response in a personalized fashion and open up new avenues for regenerative medicine and, in combination with genome editing technology, for gene therapy.