PhD Defense: Applying organoid technology to pediatric cancer research: towards organoid-directed treatment of pediatric kidney cancer patients

PhD Defense of Camilla Calandrini

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Kidney tumors are among the most frequent malignancies in children. While survival rates have reached 90%, patients affected by rare subtypes still carry a dismal prognosis. To improve survival rates, alternative therapies need to be sought.

In recent years therapeutic innovation for pediatric renal tumor patients has been impaired by different factors, including the lack of preclinical models able to closely recapitulate the tumors of origin. New frontiers in cell culture techniques allow for the establishment and expansion of multicellular structures that self-organize to grow in a 3D fashion, called organoids. Tumor organoids can be established with high efficiency from patient tumor material, while maintaining characteristics of the original tissue. Furthermore, several studies have shown that tumor organoids are able to mirror the response to therapy observed in patients, making them appealing models for drug screening purposes. In this thesis we present for the first time the application of the organoid technology to pediatric cancer research. We successfully generated a biobank comprising more than 50 unique patient-derived organoid cultures, originated from a spectrum of different pediatric renal tumors. Furthermore, we demonstrate the feasibility of using these models to perform drug screening and identify novel therapeutic approaches for high-risk patients. The work presented in this thesis sets the first steps towards the implementation of the organoid technology as a tool for improving treatment of children with cancer.

Start date and time
End date and time
Location
Academiegebouw, Domplein 29 & online (via link)
PhD candidate
C. Calandrini
Dissertation
Applying organoid technology to pediatric cancer research: towards organoid-directed treatment of pediatric kidney cancer patients
PhD supervisor(s)
prof. dr. J.C. Clevers
prof. dr. M. van den Heuvel-Eibrink
Co-supervisor(s)
dr. J. Drost