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Patient-derived organoids as a preclinical model of colorectal cancer

Rebekah Engel


Colorectal organoids are three-dimensional cultures of cells established from healthy patient tissues and tumours that remain biologically representative of the tissue from which they are derived. Commencing recruitment in August 2015, we have established organoids from healthy and tumour tissue for more than 100 patients who have undergone surgical resection for the treatment of colorectal cancer at Cabrini Hospital, creating an extensive bioresource that is representative of the broader patient population.  Patient-derived tumour organoids are a powerful tool for cancer research and as such we are utilising them for the development of drug response assays, testing routine cancer therapies including radiotherapy and chemotherapy as well as targeted and novel therapies.


Dr Rebekah Engel is a Senior Research Officer and the Director of CRC Translational Research in the Cabrini Monash University Department of Surgery at Cabrini Health, and the Stem Cells and Cancer Laboratory at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. She is a cancer cell biologist who co-led the establishment of the Monash Cabrini CRC bioresource that now comprises a comprehensive collection of patient tissue and more than 200 human colorectal organoid lines. Prior to this, Dr Engel completed her PhD in Immunology at the University of Queensland in 2012, undertaking her studies at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane.

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