AMSBIO reports on ground breaking research by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), Barcelona that cites use of its proprietary 3D organoid technology to develop a mouse model that mimics advanced human colon cancer. This model has allowed them to study the immune system response for the first time.
In a short space of time, therapies based on stimulating the immune system against cancer cells have become a powerful approach to treat cancers such as melanoma and lung cancer. However, to date, most colon tumors appeared to be unresponsive to this kind of therapy. In a newly published 6-year study, IRB Barcelona explains that the hormone TGF-beta is responsible for the “blindness” of the immune system to colon cancer cells. After development of the animal model, and confirming the similarity of the mouse tumors with those in humans, IRB Barcelona built a biobank of tumor organoids (3D mini-tumors) to then graft them in a controlled manner in immunocompetent mice. This animal model, which mimics the main features of metastatic colon cancer in patients, allowed the researchers to examine how cancer cells evade the immune system by increased levels of TGFβ. This study paves the way for the development of TGFβ directed immunotherapies for patients diagnosed with advanced colon cancer.
Eduard Batlle, of IRB Barcelona, commented “The ability to culture and maintain tumor organoids has been key to the success of this research. Organoids offer multiple advantages as pre-clinical models for cancer research and drug testing”.
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