What are organoids?
Organoids are miniature three-dimensional cellular structures grown by culture in the lab. Organoids can be made to resemble organs or tissues such as gut, kidney, pancreas, liver, breast, prostate, and even brain tissue, all complete with accurate micro-anatomy. Due to their amazing ability to self-organize into tissue structures, researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine have developed a way to grow organoid structures that mimic actual patients’ tumors, and allow our researchers to study how different cancers develop, change, and might respond to various drug therapies.
Given that no two cancers are alike, and each has its own unique molecular identity, physician-scientists at the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital have been using organoids as models to make more precise diagnoses and develop treatments that are based upon the specialized makeup of an individual’s cancer, instead of using a standardized one-size-fits-all approach based upon the location of the disease.
Research recently published in Cancer Discovery highlights the importance of moving beyond genomics to identify the best therapy options for patients with advanced stage cancer, using models such as organoids and patient-derived xenographs to discover effective treatment strategies. These models serve as an ideal platform to enable discoveries of novel therapeutic approaches that can be assessed in clinical trials and provides personalized therapeutic options for individual patients where standard clinical options have been exhausted.
The EIPM is a member of The Human Cancer Models Initiative (HCMI), an international consortium that is generating novel, next-generation, tumor-derived culture models annotated with clinical, biospecimen, and molecular characterization data. HCMI-developed models and case-associated data are available as a community resource. View the latest HCMI factsheet here.
Watch this short video that explains how tumor organoids are developed in our labs:
Read more about Weill Cornell’s work with organoids: