Researchers at the University of Bern, Switzerland, have developed an organoid model to help find personalised drug treatments for prostate cancer patients, while reducing the use of mice in this research.
Patient-derived xenografts (PDX) - implanting cells from a patient tumour into a mouse - are currently used to find personalised cancer treatments. However, this often involves taking cells from already well-developed tumours which do not reflect the early stages of prostate cancer.
In this study, the team took cells from an early-stage cancer patient to make mouse PDX models, then took cells from this and other, more advanced mouse cancer models to form organoids which were used to test potential drug treatments at every stage of the disease.
The successful drug treatments were then used to test on organoids created from patients’ cells, where results were similar to what was seen in the mouse PDX organoids.
"This is a further step in the direction of individualized medicine, where we might be able to tailor the treatment to the tumour during the course of the disease,” said co-lead researcher Professor George Thalmann.