Lab-grown brain organoids, rapidly deployed, can fight glioblastomas

Glioblastoma organoids grown from patient tissue can be used to investigate personalized treatment approaches in time-sensitive cases.

Lab-grown brain organoids developed from a patient’s own glioblastoma, the most aggressive and common form of brain cancer, may hold the answers on how to best treat it. A new study in Cell from researchers at Penn Medicine show how glioblastoma organoids could serve as effective models to rapidly test personalized treatment strategies.

outline of human brain

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) remains the most difficult of all brain cancers to study and treat, largely because of tumor heterogeneity. Treatment approaches, like surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, along with newer personalized cellular therapies, have proven to slow tumor growth and keep patients disease-free for some periods of time; however, a cure remains elusive.

“While we’ve made important strides in glioblastoma research, preclinical and clinical challenges persist, keeping us from getting closer to more effective treatments,” says senior author Hongjun Song, Perelman Professor of Neuroscience in the Perelman School of Medicine. “One hurdle is the ability to recapitulate the tumor to not only better understand its complex characteristics, but also to determine what therapies post-surgery can fight it in a timelier manner.”

Co-senior authors include Guo-li Ming, Perelman Professor of Neuroscience, and Donald O’Rourke, the John Templeton, Jr., MD Professor in Neurosurgery, and director of the GBM Translational Center of Excellence at the Abramson Cancer Center.

Read more at Penn Medicine News.