Home pagePress monitoringTumor organoids may speed cancer treatment

Tumor organoids may speed cancer treatment

Date: 17.12.2018 

Collecting cancer cells from patients and growing them into 3-D mini tumors could make it possible to quickly screen large numbers of potential drugs for ultra-rare cancers.

Kredit: Alice Soragni / UCLA.Preliminary success with a new high-speed, high-volume approach is already guiding treatment decisions for some patients with recurring hard-to-treat cancers.

“Believe it or not, for some rare cancers there is no standard of care,” UCLA cancer biologist Alice Soragni said December 12 at a joint meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology and the European Molecular Biology Organization. “What if we could go back and tell the doctor, ‘Hey this combination of therapies worked really well for this specific patient?’”

In one case, Soragni and her colleagues tested 430 compounds on mini tumors grown from cells from a boy with a rare bone cancer. Eight of the compounds caused 75 percent cell death in the mini tumors — and those included cancer drugs not typically considered for his type of cancer, the team reported at the meeting.

While the boy is still responding well to standard chemotherapy, the approach could point to new treatments for patients running out of options. “If a candidate drug shows exciting activity and is [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] approved, then we would absolutely consider it,” says Noah Federman, who directs UCLA’s Pediatric Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma Program.

“It makes sense to test cancer drugs on cancer cells outside the body first, before selecting the best one to be given to the patient,” says Hans Clevers, an organoid pioneer at the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht, Netherlands. “This field will definitely grow rapidly,” says Clevers, who was not involved in the new study but has done similar research on treatments for rare kidney cancers.





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