A scientist from the University of Virginia Medical School, working with a local biotech company HemoShear Therapeutics, created a physical three-dimensional model of a cancer tumor, which can replicate the complex nature and behavior of a real tumor. The model will help researchers better understand the disease and to accelerate the development of new and better treatments.
Multicellular model can also be configured to behave as a tumor of the individual patient, so that doctors can determine how a tumor will respond to different medications. This may allow them to determine the best treatment based on a simple biopsy.
"This model allows us to understand the inner workings of the tumor, to systematically identify and test new ways to treat cancer," - said researcher Dan Dzhioeli of department of microbiology, immunology and cancer UVA and UVA Cancer Center.
A better understanding of cancer
The new model - a kind of tumor in a petri dish - mimics the "microenvironment" of the tumor for pancreatic cancer and non-small cell lung carcinoma. However, it can benefit the fight against many types of solid tumors, Gioli said. The model will allow scientists to better understand how cancer takes root and how cancer cells grow, spread and develop resistance to treatment.
Gioli model developed in collaboration with HemoShear, reflects the complexity of cancer by incorporating the various cell types that are found in tumors. For example, it includes the vascular endothelial cells, the cells that build blood vessels and are exposed to enormous flow shearing forces.
According HemoShear, researchers can manipulate the various components of the model in a way that is not possible with existing methods. It should provide important information during the development of new treatments, Gioli said.
"This model includes tumor hemodynamics and biological transport in such a way that the other models do not make tumors", - he said. "We believe that this model can be used for quick evaluation of new methods for precise therapy."
Gioli will introduce a new model in Boston next week at a scientific meeting, 3-D Tissue Models Oncology 2018.
The main HemoShear technology was originally developed by two UVA researchers to create more accurate models of human disease for a deeper understanding of how to develop the disease, and to discover safer and more effective drugs.