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Pioneering approach to collecting foetal stem cells, and growing organoids in the lab, to research late-stage pregnancy

Currently, the only way to collect foetal stem cells and grow them in a lab into organoids (for scientific research) is to get those cells from tissue from terminations.  And when it comes to taking foetal samples (for monitoring disease) this can be done up until 22 weeks of pregnancy in the UK – so seeing what is going on in later pregnancy in a foetus that has a health condition is limited to ultrasound scans etc.

A team of scientists and clinicians at UCL and Great Ormond Street Hospital have carried out a study to develop a new way of collecting foetal stem cells from amniotic fluid, and developing them into basic tissue-specific organoids.  The study demonstrates proof of concept of a new technique which they hope will enable research into foetal development in late-stage pregnancy, modelling of disease progression, and potentially testing future treatments.


The study was published in Nature Medicine. Journalists came along to this press briefing to hear from the authors of the study and to ask their questions. 


Speakers will include:

Prof Paolo de Coppi, Professor of Paediatric Surgery, UCL and Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health; and Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, Great Ormond Street Hospital

Dr Mattia Gerli, Lecturer in Stem Cell Science & Biomaterials, UCL Surgery & Interventional Science

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