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‘Mini-tumours’ created to battle cancer

The Today programme on BBC Radio 4 featured a news piece on Friday 23rd February 2018 which is a timely follow on to our previous news piece ‘Organoids – Method of the Year.’ The piece reported by the James Gallagher, the BBC’s Health and Science correspondent, focused on recent research where scientists have been able to predict how cancer patients will respond to therapy by growing miniature versions of their tumours (organoids) in the laboratory.

Biopsies of patients with advanced gastrointestinal cancer were taken and then grown into miniature 3D cancerous organoids in the laboratory. Researchers treated each organoid with the same drug doctors gave to the patient in the clinic. The results showed:

  • If the drug worked in the organoids, it worked 88% of the time in the patient
  • If the drug failed in the organoids, it failed 100% of the time in the patient

Prof David Cunningham, from the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, where some of the patients were treated, said: “This promising research moves us forward in the field of personalised medicine, and should ultimately lead to smarter, kinder and more effective treatments for patients.”

The research paper detailing this work, “Patient-derived organoids model treatment response of metastatic gastrointestinal cancers,” was published in the February 2018 edition of the journal, Science.

Cellesce has a range of colorectal cancer organoids for applications in drug discovery and for other research applications where large quantities of organoids are required.