Our focus is to model asthma and COPD in 3D culture, as faithfully as possible. We acquire clinical samples and we attempt to mirror disease hallmarks in the growing airways and lung tissue we engineer in the lab. Our goal is to understand better how respiratory disease arises; find new targets for treatment and test individualised therapeutics for patients in the clinic.
Chronic respiratory diseases are the 3rd cause of death in the world. At the same time, it is proportionally the field with the fewer therapeutics currently available. Unfortunately, most of the research in the past has been done on animal models, which do not spontaneously develop these diseases. This fact highlights the dire need for disease-relevant human models. Respiratory organoids are the closest one can get to the patient, without the patient.
We have managed to grow organoids from a variety of patients: From children to adult patients; from 2.5D Air-liquid interface cultures, to a variety of 3D models. Our work confirms that there is remarkable diversity in the patient cohorts we study, yet, there are also patterns of gene expression that seems to be consistent across samples. We are performing laborious standardisation experiments, to make patient material comparable for laboratory disease research and clinical studies alike.
The photo highlights the meticulous work of the organoid team within the Sedzinski group, which appears in the form of a synchronous 3D culture. We observe that key pluripotency markers are expressed uniformly across hundreds of organoids during tissue expansion; creating a statistically robust model for asthma phenotyping. A high degree of organoid synchronicity and culture predictability is a prerequisite for moving therapeutics from the laboratory to the clinic. Integrin α6 – Green, CD271 – Yellow, Magenta – cell boundaries, Cyan – Nuclei
Athanasios Pasias, Sedzinski lab, renew UCPH