Personalized medicine: Testing therapies on mini-tumors of head and neck cancer

ScienceDaily | 6/17/2019 | Staff
kringkring (Posted by) Level 4
Head and neck cancer is amongst the ten most prevalent cancers in the world. In the Netherlands, more than 3000 people are diagnosed with this disease every year. Despite heavy treatments that include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, this aggressive type of cancer grows back within two years in 40 to 60% of the patients. This results in problems with speaking and swallowing and can have large consequences for the physical appearance of the patient. "The treatment of head and neck cancer is harsh," according to medical oncologist Lot Devriese (UMC Utrecht). Often, a combination of therapies is required to treat the disease and this can result in serious side effects. Therefore, there is an urgent need to make treatments more effective and decrease side effects."

Researchers working in the group of Hans Clevers (Hubrecht Institute) and doctors and researchers from the UMC Utrecht have now shown that organoids can be grown from so-called head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). These mini-organs are derived from patient-material, for example obtained from the tumor mass removed during surgery. Tumor-organoids of thirty patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer have been kept in culture for over a year. "This is the first time that researchers have been successful in growing organoids derived from head and neck cancer on this scale" says pathologist Stefan Willems (UMC Utrecht). "This technique allows us to multiply the tumor cells of a patient in the lab and will contribute to our understanding of head and neck cancer."

Mini-tumors - Chemotherapies - Patients - Head - Neck

After growing the mini-tumors, they were exposed to chemotherapies that are currently given to patients with head and neck cancer. Since...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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