ADVERTISEMENT

A Novel 3D Cell Culture Model For The Evaluation Of Anticancer Breast Therapeutics

Conventional breast cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, are known for triggering side effects and, in some types of cancer, for displaying a limited therapeutic outcome. Therefore, it is pivotal the development of new therapeutic approaches. Two-dimensional (2D) cell culture was, up to recent years, the prime methodology used for anticancer therapeutics screening. However, 2D cellular models are unable to fully reproduce the architecture of solid tumors found in vivo, leading in some cases to an unsuccessful prediction of how cancer cells respond to new drugs. On the other hand, there is a tremendous pressure from institutions governing animal experimentation and animal welfare leagues to reduce the number of animals used in experimentation.

To overcome these limitations associated with the 2D cell culture models as well as to reduce the number of animals used in in vivo assays, researchers started to grow cells in three-dimensions (3D) in order to mimic the features of solid tumors found in vivo. One of the most applied technique to produce these 3D cellular aggregates, also known as spheroids, is Liquid Overlay Technique (LOT). In this technique, cells are forced to form cellular aggregates due to their limited adhesion to certain biomaterials, usually agarose or agar (1).

ADVERTISEMENT

However, these biopolymers cannot interact with cancer cells, neither establish interactions similar to those occurring between cells and extracellular matrix (ECM) in solid tumors (such interactions are responsible for the activation of cellular signaling pathways that regulate cancer cells behavior). In order to mimic not only the 3D structure but also the cell-ECM interactions that occur in tumors, researchers are currently using ECM components, like hyaluronic acid (HA).

This polymer is one of the main constituents of tumor ECM, it has an essential role in cancer progression and it avoids cell adhesion in vitro. In a recent work from my research group, it was optimized, for the first time, the coating of surfaces with HA that was used for the production of reproducible heterotypic breast cancer spheroids (2). The obtained results revealed that the HA-coated surfaces allowed the production of spheroids that reproduce the 3D structure and the cellular heterogeneity presented by breast solid tumors.

Furthermore, it was possible to control the size, shape, and number of spheroids produced by changing the HA concentration and the number of cells initially seeded. Overall, these breast cancer spheroids assembled on HA-coated surfaces represent a huge improvement for the future development of anticancer therapies.

References

ADVERTISEMENT
  1. Costa, E.C., Gaspar, V.M., Coutinho, P., Correia, I.J. (2014) “Optimization of Liquid Overlay Technique to Formulate Heterogenic 3D Co-Cultures models”, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 111(8):1672-85. DOI: 10.1002/bit.25210.
  2. Carvalho M.P., Costa E.C., Correia, I.J. (2017) “Assembly of breast cancer heterotypic spheroids on Hyaluronic Acid coated surfaces”, Biotechnology Progress, in press, DOI:10.1002/btpr.2497.

The study, Assembly of breast cancer heterotypic spheroids on hyaluronic acid coated surfaces was recently published by Ilídio Correia in the journal Biotechnology Progress.

Comments

READ THIS NEXT

Five Areas Of Research In Natural Product-Derived Drug Discovery

In the past few years, a considerable amount of drug discoveries related to natural products have decreased significantly. Big Pharma companies […]

Comparison Of Pollution Into Water Catchments From Snowmelt-Runoff Vs Rainfall-Runoff

Urbanization has accelerated in recent years worldwide, and cropland and woodlands have been converted to roads, buildings, and other paved […]

The Central Function Of The Vacuole: Plant And Animals Cells

Vacuoles are membrane-bound organelles found in the cells of both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. Vacuoles play many roles but primarily function […]

Easily Calculate 0.625 As A Fraction In The Simplest Form

Below we will cover how to calculate 0.625 as a fraction, giving you 5/8 as the simplest form of 0.625. […]

Promoting Energy Efficiency At Home By Using Evolutionary Algorithms

Energy is an important element of today’s society whose demand has risen over the last years with population growth and […]

Map Of The Maine Coast And Towns

Take a look at the map of Maine’s coastline and you’ll notice it’s dotted with small towns and beautiful rocky […]

Treatment With A New Drug Strengthens The Muscles Of Patients With Pompe Disease

Pompe disease is a rare and potentially fatal metabolic myopathy (prevalence 1 in 20,000). In Pompe disease, the deficiency of […]

Science Trends is a popular source of science news and education around the world. We cover everything from solar power cell technology to climate change to cancer research. We help hundreds of thousands of people every month learn about the world we live in and the latest scientific breakthroughs. Want to know more?