Organoids: a systematic review of ethical issues

Dide de Jongh*, Emma K. Massey, the VANGUARD consortium

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


Organoids are 3D structures grown from pluripotent stem cells derived from human tissue and serve as in vitro miniature models of human organs. Organoids are expected to revolutionize biomedical research and clinical care. However, organoids are not seen as morally neutral. For instance, tissue donors may perceive enduring personal connections with their organoids, setting higher bars for informed consent and patient participation. Also, several organoid sub-types, e.g., brain organoids and human–animal chimeric organoids, have raised controversy. This systematic review provides an overview of ethical discussions as conducted in the scientific literature on organoids. The review covers both research and clinical applications of organoid technology and discusses the topics informed consent, commercialization, personalized medicine, transplantation, brain organoids, chimeras, and gastruloids. It shows that further ethical research is needed especially on organoid transplantation, to help ensure the responsible development and clinical implementation of this technology in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number337
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

This project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement no. 874700.

Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s).


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