Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:19

Würzburg: Cervical organoids for research into carcinogenesis Featured

Together with her team, Dr. Cindrilla Chumduri, group leader at the Department of Microbiology at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU), has developed organoids of the female cervix.

According to the leader, the model opens up new possibilities for research into the biology of the cervix, infections and the development of cancer on the one hand, and therapies for the treatment of cervical diseases on the other.

For the development of the 3D organoids of the cervix, adult epithelial stem cells were used as starting material. These were obtained through biopsies from both the endocervix and the ectocervix. Using the material, the researchers were able to recreate the natural three-dimensional tissue architecture of the endocervix, which is normally adjacent to the uterus, and the ectocervix, which normally protrudes into the vagina.

In more advanced experiments, the scientists also genetically engineered the stem cells with genes from the human papillomavirus HPV to induce cervical cancer. Since it is suspected that a co-infection must be present to trigger cancer in the cervix, the researchers are able to use their model to more closely examine the long-term effects of viral infection on the squamous epithelium of the cervix and the contribution of co-infection with other pathogens, such as Chlamydia trachomatis.

Original publication:
Gurumurthy, R.K., Koster, S., Kumar, N. et al. Patient-derived and mouse endo-ectocervical organoid generation, genetic manipulation and applications to model infection. Nat Protoc (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41596-022-00695-6