To develop the disease model, the IBEC group – together with their collaborators at Vall d’Hebron Institut d’Oncologia, ICO-IDIBELL and Hospital Clinic de Barcelona – will create a 3D-organoid – a kidney-on-a-chip – from human pluripotent stem cells, which will demonstrate how the tissue in the organ develops, as well as how it reacts when other changes take place, such as disease. Within this model, the researchers will be able use a gene editing method, CRISPR-Cas9, to manipulate those genes related to the appearance of disease and identify possible early signs that cancer might develop.
“The idea is that the model will be able to analysis urine and blood samples from patients, which are easy and painless to obtain, and enable early intervention before the disease develops further,” explains Nuria. “Up till now, the vast majority of cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage and by chance during ultrasound or imaging tests in the abdomen.”
The AECC Scientific Foundation praised the ‘great scientific quality’ of the project, and the ‘extraordinary contribution it can make to the fight against cancer’.