Combining the human organoid technology with advanced microscopy
Florijn Dekkers works with the human organoid or ‘mini-organ’ technology to faithfully recreate healthy organs or tumors in a dish. She uses these cultures to study the effectiveness of drug treatment in a patient-specific manner. It facilitates the development of therapy that is tailored to the individual. This is of great importance for children with cancer, because they can suffer from serious treatment side effects which often establish later in life.
She also combines organoids with advanced fluorescent microscopy. These methods include large-scale single cell-resolution 3D imaging on fixed tissue and 3D live-cell imaging in vitro and in vivo. She develops innovative approaches to visualize cancer biology in a unique way to thereby better understand the progression of cancer and the mechanism-of-action of anticancer therapy, such as immunotherapy with engineered T cells. She currently mainly applies her studies on breast cancer, but will translate her methods to study pediatric cancer.