Head and neck cancer is a devastating disease with poor survival rates. Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is ranked as the eighth most common malignant cancer worldwide.
Aggressive treatment can be curative, but relapse rates for advanced cancers exceed 65 per cent, with significant morbidity. If cancers recur after surgery and (chemo)radiotherapy treatment, the only current salvage option is radical surgery with a dismal chance of cure.
Patient-derived organoid technology, integrating immune cells and next-generation sequencing approaches, is a breakthrough technology poised to transform clinical care and drug development.
This initiative establishes an OSCC Organoid-Informed Precision Medicine Program in the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct, a strategic collaboration between the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and University of Melbourne.
This Australian-first research will develop organoid technology utility to personalise treatment for individual patients, identify new treatment opportunities, and translate new biological understanding into more precise and effective therapies.