Chang-il Hwang and organoid
Organoids, on the computer screen in green, can help researchers track disease development and help them develop and identify patient-specific therapies for those diseases. David Slipher/UC Davis

VIDEO: Building Mini-Organs to Fight Pancreatic Cancer

Assistant Professor Chang-il Hwang, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, studies pancreatic cancer, one of deadliest cancers. While it only accounts for 3 percent of cancers nationwide, 91 percent of patients succumb to the illness within five years of diagnosis. The problem is compounded because pancreatic cancer isn’t detectable until its late stages, when it’s spread to other organs. Since the pancreas is situated deep in the abdomen, tumors often escape detection, and physical symptoms usually don’t manifest until it’s too late. Hwang is using organoid models to help develop better cancer detection and therapeutic treatments.

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