Hubrecht Institute and UMC Utrecht Develops Head and Neck Cancer Organoids Biobank

Researchers from the Organoid group (Hubrecht Institute) and UMC Utrecht have developed a biobank with organoids derived from patients with head and neck cancer (HNC). They used this biobank to validate known HNC biomarkers and found that treatment responses in the organoids matched those seen in patients. The study results were published in Med on 12 May 2023 and could aid treatment decisions and the discovery of novel therapies for HCN patients in the future.

Head and neck cancer (HNC) is an overarching term used for several types of cancer. HNC patients can be treated with a combination of surgery, radiotherapy, and/or chemotherapy. Nevertheless, treatment is not always effective. The limited efficacy of treatments might be explained in part by the fact that the genetic makeup of the tumor differs strongly between patients. As a result, the most suitable therapy is different for each patient. A first step towards such personalized treatments is to develop better models that reflect tumor variability more accurately. The researchers therefore set up a biobank of HNC organoids: miniature versions of patient tumors, grown in the lab. 

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