Organoids and tumor explant cultures in vitro provide an exciting avenue of research for the optimization of drug development, cancer patient profiling and human tumor studies. Coupled with these new culture systems, high-resolution, long-term imaging gives us an effective tool for high-throughput screening, transcriptomics, and the testing of mutants, compounds, and pathway inhibition in human cells. It has long been recognized that human cells in single layer culture fail to preserve important functional features of tumor biology. Differentiation states are altered by the absence of 3D structure, and of interactive stroma and cell-cell contacts. Existing systems such as animal models (so-called ‘xenografts’) or tumor organoids (‘tumoroids’) mimic some aspects of the patient tumor but yet have significant shortcomings related to scalability, lack of immunobiology (xenografts, tumoroids), and sometimes, inappropriate time frames for culturing and differentiation. Still, the use of organoids and tumoroids is proliferating in preclinical and clinical settings, and recent advances in growing patient-derived tumor fragments that retain the multicellular, anatomical, and functional complexity of the original tumor are a promising means to tackle this problem.
To advance both the knowledge and networking in this field, we plan a one-day workshop at the AGORA cancer research center, in which we will explore state-of-the-art tumoroid and organoid analysis, culturing and use in screening, as well as progress in culturing tumor explants. Many of these methods are still in development. New applications for organoid and tumor explants in preclinical and clinical research will be discussed in this one day workshop on Organoids in Cancer Research, along with the technical aspects of cultivation, characterization, immunodetection, imaging, and machine learning-driven analysis. Plenary sessions will feature leading scientists in these fields, and are followed by poster sessions and breakout sessions for discussions in a smaller settings. Postdocs and students engaged in related research and postdocs are strongly encouraged to participate.