AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 28, Number 4, 2019


Brain Organoids Reveal Glioblastoma Origins

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Glioblastoma cells (green) invade a brain organoid grown from human stem cells (blue).

Glioblastomas are the most aggressive form of brain cancer — they grow and spread rapidly through the brain and are virtually impossible to eradicate, typically leading to death within one or two years of diagnosis. Scientists are constantly seeking more powerful targeted therapies, but so far without success — in part because glioblastomas are challenging to study in a laboratory setting. 

“Glioblastomas are aggressive and tenacious in patients, but have always been very difficult to keep alive in the lab,” said UC San Francisco postdoctoral researcher Aparna Bhaduri, PhD. “In previous attempts to study glioblastomas in mice, only 5 to 10 percent of human tumors survive transplantation into the animals, making us suspect that these tumors may differ in important ways from the ones that don’t survive.”

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