3D cell culture

Here you can find information about 3D cell culture, used as an in vitro model for cancer of the head and neck region.

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What is denoted by the term "3D cell culture"?

One of the most important goals of cancer treatment is the ability to select the best therapy for each individual cancer patient and to predict the therapy response as accurate as possible.  

For this purpose, strong efforts were made to establish preclinical models such as 2D primary cell culture or patient-derived xenografts (PDX) in mice. Primary 2D cell culture are inexpensive and easy to generate, whereas mouse models are very cost intensive and time-consuming until results can be generated. However, both lack the ability to maintain the tumors original microenvironment. Considering these limitations, in terms of personalized medicine, these models are not feasible to be used for therapy recommendations.

Protocols for the generation of patient-derived 3D cell cultures of tumor tissue have been established for several solid tumor entities, including very recently also head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). These so-called “patient-derived organotypic tumorspheres” (PDOTS) are embedded in an extracellular matrix, thereby imitating cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. In addition, PDOTS can be generated and expanded within three to four weeks, thus allowing molecular tumor profiling and ex vivo drug screening within a clinically acceptable time frame. For prediction of therapy response, concerning personalized medicine, 3D PDOTS culture system might thus represent a more suitable preclinical model.

project aims

  • Generate HNSCC-PDOTS models to be used as a platform for drug screening in order to make therapy recommendations
  • Generate PDOTS lines from fresh surgical tumor material and well-characterized PDX-models , to be used for mechanistic and molecular studies of treatment resistance
  • Histological and molecular biological characterization of the generated PDOTS-models
  • Concordance between primary patient tissue und corresponding PDOTS model
  • To identify drug resistance and their underlying resistance mechanisms and test for other/novel drugs
  • Establishment of immunocompetent PDOTS models in order to generate preclinical models being used for testing immune checkpoint inhibitors

further literature

  • Lehmann, R.; Lee, C. M.; Shugart, E. C.; Benedetti, M.; Charo, R. A.; Gartner, Z.; Hogan, B.; Knoblich, J.; Nelson, C. M.; Wilson, K. M.


    Human organoids: a new dimension in cell biology

    Mol Biol Cell 2019; 30(10):1129-1137.
  • D'Agosto, S.; Andreani, S.; Scarpa, A.; Corbo, V.


    Preclinical Modelling of PDA: Is Organoid the New Black?

    Int J Mol Sci 2019; 20(11)
  • Driehuis, E.; Kolders, S.; Spelier, S.; Lohmussaar, K.; Willems, S. M.; Devriese, L. A.; de Bree, R.; de Ruiter, E. J.; Korving, ; Begthel, H.; van Es, J. H.; Geurts, V.; He, G. W.; van Jaarsveld, R. H.; Oka, R.; Muraro, M. J.; Vivie, J.; Zandvliet, Mmjm; Hendrickx, A. P. A.; Iakobachvili, N.; Sridevi, P.; Kranenburg, O.; van Boxtel, R.; Kops, Gjpl; Tuveson, D. A.; Peters, P. J.; van Oudenaarden, A.; Clevers, H.


    Oral Mucosal Organoids as a Potential Platform for Personalized Cancer Therapy

    Cancer Discov 2019; 9(7):852-871.

persons in charge

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