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New Initiative Aims to Build Organoid Cell Atlas

NEW YORK — The Austrian Academy of Sciences on Monday announced the formation of the HCA-Organoid, an initiative that will use single-cell profiling technologies to create well-characterized in vitro models of human organs.

With €5 million ($6.0 million) from the EU Horizon 2020 Framework Program, HCA-Organoid aims to establish single-cell transcriptomes, epigenomes, and time-series imaging of human organoids and matched primary tissue from healthy donors. 

Project members will initially derive and comprehensively characterize human brain and colon organoids from 100 individuals each in order to capture population variation and to establish a resource for disease research. Resulting data will be made available in connection to human primary samples through a public online portal to support proof-of-concept studies in epilepsy, cancer, and other diseases, according to the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

HCA-Organoid also intends to build a collaborative research network focused on the single-cell characterization of a diverse set of human organoids in order to build a comprehensive Organoid Cell Atlas that can be included within the Human Cell Atlas project.

In addition to the Austrian Academy of Sciences' CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine and Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, member organizations include the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Hubrecht Organoid Technology, the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, the German Cancer Research Center, the European Bioinformatics Institute, and the European Research and Project Office.

"We are excited to combine single-cell profiling with organoid technology and to contribute a focus on human organoids to the Human Cell Atlas," Christoph Bock, HCA-Organoid project coordinator and principal investigator at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine, said in a statement. "These are complementary technologies that together will bring us an important step closer to the rational development of future therapies for a wide range of diseases."