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SU2C Funds Dutch-led Effort to Establish 'Living Biobank' of Tumors

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) –The fundraising organization Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) has provided a grant of €6 million ($8.1 million) to investigators at the Dutch Cancer Society and the American Association for Cancer Research to fund an effort to grow and study living tumors from patient samples and to use them in studies of possible drug candidates.

SU2C said today the Dream Team grant will provide four years of funding to establish and develop a "living biobank" of tumor organoids using a technique that the principal investigators developed.

These growing tumors will enable the researchers to conduct sensitivity and resistance studies of anticancer drugs in the lab, which could make it possible to develop more sophisticated clinical trials that will test treatment regimens based on genetic profiles of individual patients and their tumors.

The partners plan to focus first on pancreatic, prostate, and colon cancer, and will develop organoids of normal tissue and tumor samples from 80 patients with each of those cancer types. Next, they will test the sensitivity of these organoids to 100 different drugs, and then use the data from those studies to match specific treatments with defined DNA changes in tumors and develop preclinical studies based on those findings.

"Currently, the treatments that most patients with cancer receive are still chosen based on the tissue or organ in which their cancer originated and on features of their cancers that are visible to pathologists through the microscope," Hans Clevers, a co-leader of the project and a professor at the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht, said in a statement.

"We expect to be able to use this biobank to identify new drugs and drug combinations for evaluation in clinical trials," Clevers said.