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Chemotherapy is often one of the first methods of treatment following the diagnosis of cancer, but there’s never any guarantee that it will work. In fact, what works extremely well for one person might not change anything for another—even if the two people had the same type of cancer and received exactly the same treatment protocol. This is true even for targeted therapy, which aims to target specific aspects of cancer, such as the genes or proteins involved in its growth.

Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, Director of Cell Biology at the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Principle Investigator at Muthuswamy Lab, Senthil K. Muthuswamy, Ph.D. joins the podcast today to discuss a new option for the treatment of cancer—one that overcomes these challenges by personalizing the search for an effective drug. How so?

In Dr. Muthuswamy’s lab, tissue from breast and pancreatic tumors is being cultured in the lab to form organoids of the tumors from which they came. In other words, Dr. Muthuswamy’s team is essentially re-growing patient tumors in the lab so that a series of drugs can be tested on them for effectiveness. In this way, the patient avoids receiving unnecessary drugs that would only cause harm or negative side effects and can begin taking a drug with more confidence in its ability to treat their specific tumor. On today’s podcast, you will discover:

  • Some of the reasons two people with a certain type of cancer respond differently to the same treatment
  • Various types of research being done with the use of organoids, including research on human toxicology and the molecular biology of cancer
  • What the next five years will bring for Dr. Muthuswamy’s lab and organoid technology in general

Visit https://www.muthuswamylab.org/ for more information.

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