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20Dec 2017

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Predicting treatment outcome by DNA and organoids

Fleur Weeber

Tailoring treatment to the unique cancer of each individual patient is important to improve patient outcomes, facilitate drug development and increase cost-effectiveness in health care. In her PhD thesis, which she will defend on December 21st, Netherlands Cancer Institute researcher Fleur Weeber describes several research projects on personalized medicine in cancer.

The first part of her thesis describes biomarker research. With her colleagues from the personalized medicine group led by Professor Emile Voest, Fleur Weeber found that patients with an aberration in the PTEN gene respond better to treatment with the mTOR inhibitor everolimus than other patients and, subsequently, that mutations or deletions in PTEN may well represent a tumor type agnostic biomarker for treatment with everolimus.

The second part of Weebers' thesis focuses on the question whether patient-derived tumor organoids can be employed for testing medicines before administering these medicines to patients. For this to be feasible, the genetic landscape of the biopsies needs to be preserved in culture. Weeber found that this was indeed the case. Based on her findings, clinical studies have now been set up to test whether the organoid technique can indeed be used in a clinical setting.

Fleur Weeber will defend her thesis, entitled Predicting Treatment Outcome by DNA and Organoids  on Thursday December 21st at Utrecht University. Her promotor is Professor Emile Voest. For details about the defense see the news article on the website of Utrecht University. Read more about the Emile Voest group.  Read more about Fleur Weeber.

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