Researchers have developed a human model in which they use organoids, or mini organs, to study the function of specific genes that are mutated in liver cancer. Using this method, they have found that mutations in BAP1, a gene commonly mutated in liver cancer, changes the behaviour of the cells, which may make them more likely to be invasive. Their results have been published in the scientific journal Cell Stem Cell. Organoids and cancer research Organoids are mini organs that can be grown in the lab, from a very small piece of tissue derived from a variety of organs. They have been used in cancer research for a few years, mainly by comparing organoids derived from healthy organs to those derived from tumours. This approach however is not suitable to investigate the function and the role of specific genes that are already known to be mutated in cancer. In order to learn more about tumour formation, there was a need for a clean model in which organoids with and without such mutations can be compared.