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GEN Protocols


Organoids for Airway and Alveolar Disease Modeling

Date: June 27, 2022, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm ET

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In this Mixer, we discussed the development of respiratory airway and alveolar organoids derived from human iPSCs and how these are used in modeling respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis. Airway organoid models can be used for testing the therapeutic efficacy of candidate drugs for respiratory diseases. Regenerated airway and alveolar cells derived from human iPSCs express proteins that match human respiratory cell biomarkers and play an important role in pathogenesis, such as ACE2 receptor protein in SARS-CoV-2 infections. Our panelists will discuss scaling, standardization, gene editing, co-culture and imaging of these organoid disease models, as important resources for pharmacologic, toxicologic, functional and efficacy studies in respiratory drug development initiatives. 

Clinical development of drugs for respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, COPD and lung cancers has met major obstacles, particularly during phase 2, when therapeutic efficacy the candidate drug is typically first assessed. Pluripotent stem cells have the innate potential for unrestricted self-renewal and the ability to differentiate into any cell type in the body. However, isolating these cells from live animals is challenging. In 2012 Shinya Yamanaka and Sir John Gurdon were awarded the Nobel Prize for directly generating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from somatic cells by introducing four genes, now collectively called the Yamanaka factors (Myc, Oct3/4, Sox2 and Klf4). Regenerative medicine aims to derive specialized cell types from iPSCs that can provide disease models for therapeutic development and can be used to transplant, replace, engineer or regenerate diseased cells. 

A live Q&A followed the presentation, offering a chance to pose questions to our expert panelists.

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Sumeer Dhar, PhD, Director Scientific Alliances, SCREEN Holdings 

Sumeer Dhar, PhD, heads technical and scientific operations of SCREEN Holdings in EU and North America. Dhar graduated from Uppsala University, Sweden, with specialization in pharmacology/oncology, Sumeer focuses on developing and utilizing 3D in vitro and ex vivo platforms for early drug discovery and development. Sumeer and his colleagues from SCREEN holdings provide versatile imaging solutions for complex 3D structures to researchers across the life sciences field encompassing multiple disease areas. Dhar has extensive expertise in developing ex-vivo methods for anticancer drug development, deducing mechanistic insights using cell lines as model systems and personalized cancer therapeutics.


Yuki Yamamoto, PhD, CEO, HiLung Inc.

Yuki Yamamoto, MD, PhD, is a co-founder and CEO at HiLung Inc, a startup company that provides physiologically relevant respiratory cell systems based on iPSC technology. Yamamoto is steering HiLung toward expanding a proprietary stem-cell based disease modelling technology for respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and cystic fibrosis, as well as regenerative therapeutics utilizing iPSCs. Before joining HiLung, Yamamoto was an assistant professor at Kyoto University, consistently engaged in research of pulmonary stem cell biology as well as clinical works for respiratory medicine as a board-certified member of the Japanese Respiratory Society.