**Science Breakthrough: Researchers Create Mini-Organs from Amniotic Fluid Cells, Revealing New Insights into Human Development**

London, UK – Researchers have achieved a significant breakthrough by creating mini-organs from cells shed by foetuses in the womb. This advancement offers new possibilities for understanding human development during late pregnancy. The 3D organoids, made from lung, kidney, and intestinal cells found in amniotic fluid, could provide valuable insights into the causes and progression of malformations that affect a significant number of babies globally.

Dr. Mattia Gerli, a stem cell researcher at UCL, emphasized the potential of foetal organoids in studying the development of foetuses in the womb, both in normal conditions and in disease. This innovative approach, using organoids created months before birth, could lead to personalized interventions, enabling doctors to diagnose defects and determine the best treatment options.

Unlike most organoids made from adult tissue, these organoids stem from untreated cells in amniotic fluid, allowing for a more ethically sensitive and viable approach. The research, published in Nature Medicine, details the process of creating organoids from cells obtained from the amniotic fluid of pregnant women, providing a platform for studying various congenital conditions.

One notable example is the creation of lung organoids from cells of unborn babies with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a condition characterized by a hole in the diaphragm. By comparing organoids from CDH babies before and after treatment, researchers observed significant differences in their development, highlighting the potential benefits of such interventions.

The implications of this research extend beyond CDH, as it opens doors to investigating other congenital conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, kidney malformations, and gut issues. By testing potential drugs on these organoids prior to administering treatments to babies, scientists hope to enhance the efficacy of interventions and improve outcomes for infants with congenital disorders.

Prof. Paolo de Coppi, a foetal surgeon at Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, emphasized the transformative nature of this research in providing a functional assessment of a child’s congenital condition before birth. This pioneering approach not only offers insights into foetal development but also sheds light on the early origins of adult diseases, providing a unique perspective on cellular malfunction within foetuses.