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Carla Kim, Ph.D.

Children's Hospital Boston
Using “Organoid” Model of Lung Cancer to Test Treatment

With advances in screening high-risk patients, more early-stage lung lesions are being identified. Unfortunately, physicians do not know how to recognize which lesions will develop into lung cancer or how to treat early-stage tumors. We will use an organoid model to understand genetic changes that transform a normal cell into a cancer cell in the lung. Organoids are 3-D cultures derived from stem cells. In these studies, lung stem cells that can become different types of cells in the lung will be used. These stem cells follow their own genetic instructions in the lab dish to organize themselves into tiny structures that resemble miniature organs. We will use 3-D organoid cultures to model the earliest stages of lung cancer. This organoid system has the potential to reduce lengthy periods of trial-and-error testing of treatments in patients. Shedding light on early changes in tumor cells will lead to a better understanding of lung cancer biology, and will help identify new targets for cancer prevention and treatment.

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