Tumor organoids represent a key milestone on the route towards successful personalized medicine. By unearthing avenues for the development of preclinical cancer models, these ‘mini-tumors’ are paving the way for the efficient translation of basic cancer research into novel treatment regimens for patients with cancer.
In this free panel discussion, our experts provide insights into their own research with organoids, including how they produce organoids in the lab, the challenges surrounding organoids and how they have been overcome, key trends they have seen and their outlook for the future of this field.
What will you learn?
The potential applications of organoids in oncology
Strategies to develop organoids as well as to overcome associated challenges
Future developments in this field
Robert Vries Hubrecht Organoid Technology
Robert received his PhD in Biochemistry form the Leiden University Medical Center (Netherlands) on the study of oncogenic cell transformation. He subsequently moved to Stanford University (CA, USA) to do his Post Doc studying neural stem cells. Upon his return to the Netherlands he continued the study of stem cells in the group of Prof Hans Clevers at the Hubrecht Institute (Netherlands). In the group of Hans Clevers he was part of the team that developed the breakthrough technology that allowed the expansion of adult stem cells. The so called Organoid Technology became the basis of the non-profit company ‘Hubrecht Organoid Technology’ (HUB) of which he is currently the managing director.
Sarah Boers University Medical Center Utrecht
Sarah Boers studied medicine at the University Medical Center in Utrecht (Netherlands) and obtained her master’s degree in 2014. During her studies she developed a special interest in medical ethics. In October 2014 she started as a PhD candidate in medical ethics under supervision of Prof. Dr. Hans van Delden and Dr. Annelien Bredenoord. In her PhD project she focuses on the “Ethics of Organoid Technology”. In this project her main emphasis is on the ethical challenges that surround biobanking: the donation, storage of use of mini-organs for scientific, clinical, and commercial aims. As of June 2016 she combines finishing her PhD with a ZonMw funded project, entitled ‘The ethics of first-in-human organoid transplantation’. In this project she shifts her focus to the translation of organoids from bench to bedside. How to design an ethically sound first-in-human organoid trial, together with a multidisciplinary team, while taking into account the needs and preferences of patients?
In addition, she is involved in teaching several courses at the faculty of medicine and the Graduate School of Life Sciences.
David Tuveson Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
David Tuveson’s group is located at Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory (NY, USA) and the Lustgarten Foundation, where they use murine and human models of pancreatic cancer to explore the fundamental biology of malignancy and thereby identify new diagnostic and treatment strategies. The lab’s approaches run the gamut from designing new model systems of disease to developing new therapeutic and diagnostic approaches for rapid evaluation in preclinical and clinical settings. The lab’s studies make use of organoid cultures—three-dimensional cultures of normal or cancerous epithelia—as ex vivo models to probe cancer biology.