Funded in memory of David Kane
The studies of this proposal will address a central question in personalized cancer treatment. Many recent studies have generated three-dimensional tissue models of human tumors, known as organoids, which can be grown and analyzed in the laboratory. Thus, these organoids can be considered “avatars” of their corresponding patient tumors. However, it is unknown whether drugs that affect organoid growth in the laboratory would have similar effects in patients. If so, patient-derived tumor organoids could be used to predict effective treatment.
We will utilize patient avatars to investigate muscle invasive bladder cancer, a highly lethal disease that is treated by chemotherapy followed by surgical removal of the bladder, which drastically affects quality of life. We will use an approach known as “co-clinical trials” to simultaneously test drug response in the clinic with that of patient avatars in the laboratory. In particular, we will determine whether patient avatars are able to predict which patients who have no residual tumor after chemotherapy can safely avoid removal of the bladder.
We have assembled an outstanding research team to investigate whether the response of patient-derived organoids to chemotherapy in the laboratory correlates with the response of the corresponding patients in the clinical trial. In addition, we will examine whether there are specific genetic alterations that are associated with sensitivity to chemotherapy. Consequently, our findings have the potential to greatly improve the standard of care for patients with muscle invasive bladder cancer.