Organoids may offer specialized meso treatment options

21 Feb 2018 by under Research/Treatment
Intestinal organoid 100x100 Organoids may offer specialized meso treatment options

Credit: Meritxell Huch / Wikipedia

What once would have been considered science fiction may bring new treatments for mesothelioma patients. Doctors at Wake Forest University are using mini lab-grown tumors to test individualized mesothelioma therapies.

According to Surviving Mesothelioma, the researchers are testing individualized treatment methods using tumors, known as organoids, created from tissue taken from patients. The aim is to better specialize treatment approaches, a growing area of medicine known as precision medicine. “Variability in patient response to anti-cancer drugs is currently addressed by relating genetic mutations to through precision medicine,” the study explains. “Even after identification of mutations, oncologists are often left with several drug options, and for some patients there is no definitive treatment solution. There is a need for model systems to help predict personalized responses to chemotherapeutics.”

To do that, the researchers grew these 3D-tumors and developed specific drug combinations to address individual patient mutations. They then demonstrated how the effectiveness of a drug combo on an organoid helped to predict how the same therapy affected the mesothelioma patient.

Mesothelioma remains an aggressive cancer that is often difficult to treat. While it may take patients decades to be diagnosed after initial exposure to asbestos-containing materials, they usually die within 18 months of diagnosis. Personalized tumor organoid technology is just beginning, and the researchers of the study believe it holds promise. They study states, “Once validated through correlation of additional patient-derived organoid drug responses with clinical outcomes, wide adoption of such systems may be able to significantly improve outcomes of cancer patients and reduce unnecessary health care costs through quick matching with the best available effective drugs at the single patient level.”

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