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Introduction of new human ex vivo model systems to study tumorigenesis in kidney cancer

Kirsten Madsen

Kidney cancer is a common disease with 400,000 new cases per year worldwide. In Denmark, 8-900 new patients are diagnosed per year making it the 9th most common cancer type. It is a high-risk cancer with a high mortality rate and a 5-year survival rate of only 40%. Patients with localized disease can be treated with surgery but for patients with advanced disease, the only treatment option is life prolonging medical treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). This treatment is associated with severe adverse effects, and the average survival time for this group of patients is only 1-2 years. Therefore, there is an evident need for identification of new therapeutic targets that can lead to the development of new treatment options for advanced kidney cancer.

Today, the discovery of new treatment targets mainly rely on the use of immortalized cell lines and animal studies. The aim of our project is to establish and validate new human ex vivo model systems that can be used to study kidney cancer biology. We will use freshly collected human kidney tumor tissue collected from nephrectomy specimens at Odense University Hospital. An array of ex vivo model systems will be tested including primary cell cultures, 3D spheroids and tissue slice culture models.

By the validation and implementation of these new test systems, we expect to be able to identify new treatment targets ex vivo that more clearly resembles human tumor biology in vivo and that the use of experimental animals within this field of research can be significantly reduced.

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