Miniature Lungs, Colons Help Test COVID-19 Treatments

Reuters Health Information
26 Nov, 2020 ,

Researchers reported in Nature that tiny organ-like structures grown in the laboratory to behave like human lungs and colons can be used to rapidly screen drugs and identify those with potential as COVID-19 treatments. Compared with traditional pre-clinical approaches, in which drugs are tested in cells from monkeys or from human cancer patients, these organoids more faithfully mimic the complex cell types and structure of human tissues, according to Dr. Shuibing Chen and Dr. Robert Schwartz of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.

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Tiny organ-like structures grown in the laboratory to behave like human lungs and colons can be used to rapidly screen drugs and identify those with potential as COVID-19 treatments, researchers reported in Nature.

Compared with traditional pre-clinical approaches, in which drugs are tested in cells from monkeys or from human cancer patients, these organoids more faithfully mimic the complex cell types and structure of human tissues, according to Dr. Shuibing Chen and Dr. Robert Schwartz of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York.

Their team developed organoids containing types of lung and colon cells that are known to become infected in people with COVID-19.

In collaboration with teams at Columbia University and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, they screened 1,200 FDA-approved drugs and found three that showed activity against the novel coronavirus, including the cancer drug imatinib, sold as Gleevec by Novartis. It is currently being tested in COVID-19 clinical trials.