Is there anything robots can’t do? They can perform our jobs, get periods and now . . . grow human organs.
Scientists at the University of Washington School of Medicine have developed an automated system that uses robots to produce human mini-organs from stem cells. According to Science Daily, the ability to mass produce “organoids” promises to expand the use of mini-organs in basic research and drug discovery.
“This is a new ‘secret weapon’ in our fight against disease,” the university’s Benjamin Freedman tells Science Daily.
Before, scientists would grow cells for biomedical research by culturing them into flat sheets. But these were too simplistic to truly mimic the ways true cells behaved. More recently, researchers have had some success growing these cells into more complex, and three-dimensional, structures called mini-organs.
This new development, however, allows them to produce these organoids at a rapid pace. It’s the first time researchers have been able to mass-produce these mini-organs from stem cells.
“Ordinarily, just setting up an experiment of this magnitude would take a researcher all day, while the robot can do it in 20 minutes,” Freedman tells Science Daily. “On top of that, the robot doesn’t get tired and make mistakes. . . . There’s no question — for repetitive, tedious tasks like this, robots do a better job than humans.”