Not a cell, not quite an organ
My research explores how to culture and characterize prostate organoids. These exciting new "organs in a dish" can reproduce the function and morphology of the prostate in a laboratory setting. The cells are obtained directly from the tissue of UIC hospital radical prostatectomy patients. Next, they are grown from single cells in 3D culture conditions to form a miniature model of the patient's tissue that can mimic the secretory activity of the gland and retain the gene expression of the patient's organ. The image shown is from our lab. A patient's cells were expanded into an organoid and then stained to visualize the intricate pattern of ductal branching. The red color stains epithelial cell junctions, the green and blue colors show two different cell populations of epithelial cells. This cell culture technique is the focus of my thesis and is what I believe to be the future of personalized medicine. Organoids have to potential to be used prior to therapy as a neoadjuvant screening of drugs to predict patient response to treatment. 3D culturing of patient samples exemplify the bench to bedside goals of our university.