#8 - Using organoids to transform drug discovery - Nikolce Gjorevski - Roche

Impulse - Meeting Healthcare Pioneers

30-08-2022 • 50 mins

Disclaimer: Nikolce and I both work for Roche, nevertheless all opinions expressed in this episode are our own and do not necessarily represent the position of our employer. Nikolce is leading the Organoid Engineering Group at the Roche Institute for Translational Bioengineering. Organoids are miniaturised versions of the organs and tissues that make up our bodies, sharing phenotypic and genetic aspects of them. They carry a lot of hope in terms of applications in healthcare, from the replacement of animal testing involved in the assessment of drug safety and efficacy, to personalized medicine where they can be leveraged to inform the treatment most suitable to a particular patient, or in terms of potential transplants to address certain diseases. We exchanged with Nikolce on the what, the how and the why behind this fascinating field of bioengineering, which tremendously developed over the past years. He takes us through the current status of the technology and the clinical applications it has already demonstrated, and shares his view on how the field will evolve in the future. Timeline: 03:13 - Mandate and ambition of the Roche Institute for Translational Bioengineering 06:18 - What organoids are and from which tissues they are derived 09:53 - Reprogramming cells’ fates from tissues and deriving induced pluripotent stem cells 11:05 - Growing organoids in vitro and related challenges 13:50 - Applications leveraged at the ITB and the types of tissues at stake 15:55 - Refining the biology and turning the theoretical promises around organoids into practice 20:38 - Towards the use of organoids as human grafts or replacing animal testing 22:37 - Organ-on-a-chip technologies and how they complement organoids 26:17 - Synergies with bioprinting technologies and the challenges that come along with building tissue replicas 28:03 - Looking back at the main advancements since the first organoids came out and their ability to recapitulate features proper to a patient 33:56 - The ethical framework around the use of organoids 37:38 - Moving from Academia to the Industry as a scientist What we also talked about with Nikolce: Matthias Lütolf Hans Clevers Mina Bissell Celeste M. Nelson Nathalie Brandenberg Silke Hoehnel Sun Bioscience Cellink Embryonic stem cells HeLa cells If you want to learn more about the Roche Institute for Translational Bioengineering, we encourage you to consult their website. As mentioned by Nikolce during the episode, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and Stem Cell Technologies are two information sources worth checking out in case you want to take a deep-dive into what organoids are, and go further into the topics we discussed with him. If you want to reach out to Nikolce, you can contact him over LinkedIn. If you liked the episode, please share it, rate it and leave a 5 star review on Apple Podcasts! You can find more about the podcast through its dedicated website or follow our activities on LinkedIn and Instagram. If you want to give me feedback on this episode, ask questions or suggest potential guests, feel free to do so through LinkedIn or by email: m.chaffard05@gmail.com.