Single-Cell Cancer Evolution in the Clinic

About the Project

Finding exactly the right treatment for each patient is a big challenge, one that is largely unmet. Today, we administer patients a drug based on the results of large studies conducted previously on other patients, so the treatment is rarely tailored to the needs of a specific patient, and the molecular features of their tumor.

A big step towards more personalised medicines has been the introduction of organoids, three-dimensional assemblies of tumor cells that mimic remarkably well the behaviour, including the sensitivity to the drugs, of the respective tumor. The dream would be to take the cells from the patient’s tumor, generate organoids, and expose them to several drugs, so that we could choose the right treatment for the patients before administering the treatments.

In an international collaboration between recognised research groups in the UK and Italy, we have managed to generate tiny organoids in small droplets, within a microfluidic device, where hundreds of drugs, and combinations, could be tested swiftly. Using this tool, the optimal combination of drugs could be forecasted, bringing the right drugs to each patient, at the right concentration.

DiCE is contributing the patient voice and perspective towards the project.

Watch our Masterclass 2021 Session on this topic given by Prof. Giovanni Tonon and the video recording of Prof. Gabriele Dubini at our Masterclass 2020 Session on the specific topic of how microfluids can help in finding the right treatment at the right time.

Project Partners

  • Fondazione Centro San Raffaele – Milan – Italy
  • Institute of Cancer Research – London – UK
  • Politecnico di Milano – Milan – Italy
  • Università degli Studi di Milano, Bicocca – Milan – Italy
  • Eahrlam Institute – Norwich – UK)

Project Sponsors

  • Cancer Research UK – CRUK
  • Fondazione AIRC per la Ricerca sul Cancro – AIRC Foundation for Cancer Research

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