Most of the research behind new medical advances is carried out using either animal tissues or cancer cells. Both tools have their problems: results from animals and humans do not always match up and cancer cells grown for years in laboratories often do not mimic the tissues they originally came from very well. Bridging the gap between whole animals and simple cells can be a challenge during the development of new treatments, but this is beginning to change since scientists have learned how to grow organoids.
Biomedical researchers like me probe the mechanistic basis of health and disease. In a long career working at the discovery end of the spectrum, I’ve been privileged to live through, and make some small contribution to, an extraordinary (and continuing) revolution in medical understanding and human well-being.