• Stem cell;
  • Progenitor;
  • Translational medicine;
  • Drug discovery;
  • Organoid;
  • 3D culture;
  • Lung;
  • Liver;
  • Intestine


Epithelial organ remodeling is a major contributing factor to worldwide death and disease, costing healthcare systems billions of dollars every year. Despite this, most fundamental epithelial organ research fails to produce new therapies and mortality rates for epithelial organ diseases remain unacceptably high. In large part, this failure in translating basic epithelial research into clinical therapy is due to a lack of relevance in existing preclinical models. To correct this, new models are required that improve preclinical target identification, pharmacological lead validation, and compound optimization. In this review, we discuss the relevance of human stem cell-derived, three-dimensional organoid models for addressing each of these challenges. We highlight the advantages of stem cell-derived organoid models over existing culture systems, discuss recent advances in epithelial tissue-specific organoids, and present a paradigm for using organoid models in human translational medicine. STEM CELLS2013;31:417–422