Panel discussion: the potential of organoids in cancer research

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 is an MD and last May she obtained her PhD from the University Medical Center Utrecht. In her PhD thesis she examined organoid technology from a bioethical perspective: she identified and evaluated the ethical challenges related to organoid technology. In her thesis, she identifies the key ethical challenges, she evaluates the moral status of organoids and their commercial exchange, and does recommendations for ethically sound donor consent and governance. She now continues to work at the group of Professor Bredenoord (with a focus on the ethics of biomedical innovation) as an Assistant Professor. She supervises PhDs and medical students working on the ethics of organoid technology. She combines her work as a researcher with her work as a physician in elderly care.

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.

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