Researchers improve retinoblastoma research model

US scientists have created a model that more accurately mimics the biology of patient tumours

baby and adult hand
Scientists from St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the US have developed a research model that more accurately reflects the biology of retinoblastoma tumours.

The research, which was published in Nature Communications, involved creating retinoblastoma organoid models that closely mimic patient tumours.

The models provide insight into the early stages of the disease and assist in the testing of potential therapies.

Dr Michael Dyer, from St Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology, shared that the model enables scientists to study the progress of the disease from the beginning to early stages of tumour development.

“What we have developed with these retinoblastoma organoids is, for the first time ever, a laboratory model where it’s possible to study the processes that go on when retinoblastoma is starting to form,” he said.

Dr Rachel Brennan, from St Jude Department of Oncology, shared that the model could assist in finding new targets for therapy.

“If we uncover the mystery of what leads some patients to develop second tumours later in life, we can develop more effective screening programmes and early interventions to save lives,” she said.

Researchers have made the data from the study freely available through the Childhood Solid Tumor Network, which offers a collection of scientific resources for researchers studying paediatric solid tumours and related biology.