Mini tumour models offer new insights into liver cancer

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

Scientists have used laboratory models of tumours to identify a new drug that could be a potential liver cancer treatment.

Experts from the Wellcome/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute in Cambridge created mini biological models of human primary liver cancers, known as organoids.

“Mini biological models of human primary liver cancers have been created in a lab for the first time.“

Termed tumouroids, the models were used to test the efficacy of 29 different drugs, some of which are already used for treating patients.

Scientists hope that by creating biologically accurate models of tumours, the need to test drugs on animals will be reduced.

Researchers also believe that, since the tumouroids retain the biological features of their parent tumour, they could be useful in developing personalised medicine for patients.

Dr Andrew Chisholm, Head of Cellular and Developmental Sciences at Wellcome, said: "This work shows the power of organoid cultures to model human cancers. 

"It is impressive to see just how well the organoids are able to mimic the biology of different liver tumour types, giving researchers a new way of investigating this disease."

Dr Chisholm added that these models are very important for the next generation of cancer research.

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