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Will the ability of a Dutch molecular geneticist to build miniature human organs in a Petri dish solve a decade’s old problem in NET research? How the tiniest laboratory replicas of your small intestine might help scientists run a dress rehearsal to see if your next treatment will work.
Researchers use laboratory models to understand cancer cells and to test new treatments. But it has been difficult to produce laboratory models for neuroendocrine tumors. One reason is that the tumors are widely different from one another (called heterogenous). The slow growth of these cells also serves as a major obstacle in conducting efficient and accurate laboratory experiments. For these reasons, there are only a few preclinical models available to study NET treatments.
NETRF has been involved in the quest to develop a reliable laboratory model for more than a decade. This void is a major obstacle in moving research forward, and it sets NETs apart from other cancer types in being able to achieve progress. “Being able to create stable and reliable intestinal NET organoids from tumor tissues, that are able to expand indefinitely, will be a major breakthrough in the field of neuroendocrine cancers,” said Effie Tzameli, PhD, NETRF director of research. “For the first time, we will have a precious laboratory tool to use for different types of experimentation.”

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