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Finding cancer genes with organoids

Organoids grown from stem cells enable new ways to model a variety of diseases such as cancer. At the University of Oulu, new techniques to engineer embryonic tissue are used to find cancer genes.

Professor Seppo Vainio says that the aim is to improve legislation to allow safeguarding the anonymity of private individuals in research activities such as creating human organoids and the patient records related to them. Currently, university hospitals and the Finnish Social and Health Data Permit Authority Findata are responsible for the administration of clinical test results of operational patient care.

“Researchers can reuse the data on gene-level changes associated with certain human diseases observed in stem cells and the organoids grown from them. This is basic research and produces experimental data such as image analysis data and gene-level data. CSC –IT Center for Science already provides the framework needed to store such digital material.”

According to Vainio, anonymisation is not as relevant when data on experimental cell lines is produced, which is why it would be possible to manage such data through CSC.

“If there was a need to link this data to patient records, it could be done with Findata cooperation. Creating organoids from samples donated by patients, for example, could also be made subject to licence in Finland.”

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CSC – IT Center for Science

is a non-profit, state-owned company administered by the Ministry of Education and Culture. CSC maintains and develops the state-owned, centralised IT infrastructure.





builds infrastructure in support of the biological sector. It brings together the leading organisations of 21 European countries and the EMBL European Molecular Biology Laboratory to form a common infrastructure for biological information. CSC – IT Center for Science is the Finnish centre within this infrastructure.