Study into how cancer patients will respond to therapy

According to a new study, scientists can now predict how cancer patients will respond to therapy by growing miniature versions of their tumours in a laboratory.

Printed in the journal Science, the study claims to be 100 per cent accurate at telling which drugs would fail, sparing patients from unnecessary side-effects and leading to ‘smarter, kinder and more effective treatments’.

Biopsies of 71 patients with advanced colorectal cancer were taken and then grown into miniature 3D cancerous organs in the laboratory, with researchers treating each ‘organoid’ with the same drug doctors gave to the patient in the clinic. It found that if the drug worked in the organoids, it worked 88 per cent of the time in the patient, while if the drug failed in the organoids, it failed 100 per cent of the time in the patient.

Dr Nicola Valeri, from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said: "For the first time we proved these organoids not only resembled the biology of metastatic cancer, but also mirror what we see in the clinic."

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