Organoids reveal how a deadly brain cancer grows
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IMAGE: Organoids reveal how a deadly brain cancer grows. From left to right, tumor cells labeled with red fluorescent marker tdTomato spread in a cerebral organoid over a time period of… view more 

Credit: Salk Institute

LA JOLLA–(April 24, 2018) Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an incredibly deadly brain cancer and presents a serious black box challenge. It’s virtually impossible to observe how these tumors operate in their natural environment and animal models don’t always provide good answers.

But now, Salk Institute researchers have taken an important step towards meeting that challenge. By editing two genes in just a few cells in human cerebral organoids, scientists in the Verma lab generated aggressive GBM tumors. This new model could be used to study tumor progression, investigate new drugs or even personalize treatments for patients. The study was published in the journal Cell Reports on April 24, 2018.

One of the problems plaguing clinical trials is, quite often, drugs that work in animals do not work in people. Researchers have tried to overcome this by using xenografts, in which patient tumor tissue is implanted in animal models, but this approach has its own issues. Sometimes, there isn’t enough human tumor tissue to

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