‘Organoid Technique’ Allows Scientists To Grow Pancreatic Tissue From Biopsied Cells

A new 3D organoid technique has been developed, and researchers say they can grow pancreatic tissue from isolated cells from humans. The researchers of the new study, which has been published in the science journal Cell, say that with this new organoid technique, they will be able to examine the molecular causes of pancreatic cancer more quickly.

Only 6 percent of pancreatic cancer patients survive longer than five years after being diagnosed, according to Medical News Today, which reported that in 2014, there were close to 40,000 deaths from pancreatic cancer.

“With this development, we are now able to culture both mouse and human organoids, providing a very powerful tool in our fight against pancreatic cancer,” David Tuveson, who co-led the organoid study, stated.

According to the research team, pancreatic cancer cells — as well as healthy pancreatic cells — are extraordinary difficult for researchers to grow. Organoid technique allows 3D pancreatic tissue to be grown even from pancreatic ductal cells, which according to the press release, significantly advances pancreatic cancer research.

“The organoids grow as 3D hollow spheres in a gel-like complex filled with growth-inducing factors and connecting fibers,” Medical News Today report stated. “When the organoids are big enough, they can be transplanted into mice, where they develop fully into pancreatic cancer.”

“We now have a model for each stage in the progression of the disease,” Dr. Chang-Il Hwang, who also co-led the research, said of the organoid technique.

The researchers also said that the cells can be retrieved from pancreatic cancer without surgery, and that the organoids can be grown from cells obtained from diagnostic biopsies alone.

“Biopsies are the standard for diagnosis,” Dr. Dannielle Engle, another lead author on the study, said, according to the press release from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. “We can now rapidly generate organoids from any patient, which offers us the potential to study the disease in a much wider population.”

The organoids from the pancreatic cancer cells revealed “genes and pathways altered during disease progression,” according to the research paper. Essentially, this new 3D organoid technique advances prostate cancer research exponentially, according to reports. Similar research was presented this fall by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center focusing on prostate cancer, according to the center’s blog, which explained their development of organoids.

“An international team of researchers led by Memorial Sloan Kettering has created a new tool that can be employed in the search for personalized cancer therapies in prostate cancer: tiny formations called organoids. The study of organoids — three-dimensional structures about a millimeter in size composed of cells grouped together and spatially arranged like an organ or tissue — is a rapidly growing field in biology.”

Tuveson said that the team hopes to make the organoid research they have been working on “available to the entire pancreatic cancer research community.”

[Photo via Pixabay]