A team of Dutch researchers has developed the first 3D organoids from patients’ head and neck cancer cells that can be kept alive for a long time, giving physicians a model to test which cancer treatments are the most effective for each patient.
19 Jun 2019
by Jonathan Smith

Head and neck cancer is an aggressive disease that often requires harsh chemotherapy and radiotherapy to treat. It is possible to test cancer treatments in cell cultures to personalize them to the patient, but cell cultures are difficult to grow, and don’t accurately represent the solid tumor environment.

To solve this problem, a research group based in the Dutch Hubrecht Institute and UMC Utrecht have developed 3D organoids from cells taken from patients’ head and neck tumors. In a study published in Cancer Discovery, the group tested the effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy on organoids, and found that the organoid response to radiotherapy predicted the responses of seven patients to the same treatment.

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