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Lab-Grown Organoids Hold Promise for Patient Treatments

June 29, 2017

Jeffrey Bush and Ophir Klein
Organic gardeners: Ophir Klein (right) is leading a team of scientists, including Jeffrey Bush (left), who are harnessing stem cells to grow organoids, tiny segments of organs, to understand why craniofacial deformities occur and to develop new treatments. Photo by Steve Babuljak

By Claire Conway

Ophir Klein is growing teeth, which is just slightly less odd than what Jeffrey Bush is growing — tissues that make up the face. Jason Pomerantz is growing muscle; Sarah Knox is growing salivary glands; and Edward Hsiao is printing 3-D bone using a machine that looks about as complex as a clock radio.

Together, these members of the UC San Francisco faculty — most with the School of Dentistry — are cultivating organs of the craniofacial complex — the skull and face — which too often go terribly wrong during fetal development. Deformities of these bones or soft tissues, the most common of birth defects, can cut life short by blocking the airway or circulation. Or they can disfigure a face so profoundly that a child struggles to see, hear, or talk. Perhaps most painful of all, such deformities render children physically other, potentially leading to a lifetime of corrective surgeries and social isolation.

>> Read the complete article, from UCSF Magazine, on