It’s the cancer version of “mini-me.” Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Professor David Spector, among others, has developed organoids, which are miniature, three-dimensional copies of cancers.
Organoids can be derived from cancer or healthy cells. They allow scientists to study the basic biology of particular types of tumors, then test specific drugs on those cancers in a dish, instead of in a patient. Recently, Spector, postdoctoral researcher Sonam Bhatia, and collaborators from CSHL and Northwell Health created a biobank of 87 triple-negative breast cancer organoids. The researchers published their work in the journal Cancer Research.
The research team, which plans to expand the biobank to over 100 patient-derived samples, conducted extensive tests to ensure the organoids had the same characteristics of the tumors when they were in the patient. They tested organoids and tumors:
(1) had similar genetic variation in their DNA
(2) had similar RNA profiles and
(3) produced tumors, similar to the patients’ tumors, when implanted into mice.
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