Target and Control Strategies to Battle Cancer
Target & Control Strategies Mining Breast Cancer Imaging Data Molecular Complexity Treating a Chemotherapy Side Effect Catching Cancer Before It Spreads Sentinel Against Ovarian Cancer Peering into the Body - MRI Changing Cell Signaling Pathways Molecular Profiles of Cancer
3-D Modeling - Prostate Cancer Neutron-Based Therapies Calculating Radiation Dosage Fighting Disease with Disease Optimizing Radiation Therapy A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Story A Stomach Cancer Survivor’s Story More Geogia Tech Cancer Research
Cover Story Sidebar
Researchers creating in-vitro, 3-D model of
prostate cancer with tissue engineering.
by T.J. BECKER
RESEARCHERS CURRENTLY RELY on animal models and two-dimensional (2-D) cultures of human cells to study cancer and test potential drugs.
photo by Gary Meek
A new approach to cancer drug testing is an in-vitro, 3-D model of human prostate cancer created through tissue engineering by Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Yadong Wang and his research team, including Jin Gao, a postdoctoral associate working on the project. (300-dpi JPEG version - 831k)
Yet these models have two major problems: Human cells behave differently in a 2-D environment than their natural 3-D state, and animal physiology isn’t the same as humans.
“We can cure all kinds of cancer in mice, but there’s no guarantee the same drug will work for humans,” says Yadong Wang, an assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “In fact, many anticancer drugs shine in both tests but fail in human trials.”
Wang, who focuses on biomaterials and tissue engineering, is working on a new approach to testing an in-vitro, 3-D model of human prostate cancer created through tissue engineering. Funded through the Georgia Cancer Coalition, Wang is collaborating with Leland Chung, director of Emory University’s Molecular Urology and Therapeutics Program and an expert in prostate cancer.
“An in-vitro, 3-D cellular structure will mimic the human physiology better because it encourages cells to maintain their natural behavior,” Wang says. “We hope this will bridge the gap between a 2-D culture and the patient.”
Although other researchers have attempted in-vitro, 3-D models by layering human cells or growing them in collagen gels, these models haven’t been thick enough or lasted more than a few weeks.
“Cancer is not something that happens overnight,” Wang says. “To get a more complete picture, you need to study it long term. For example, metastasis occurs in the later stages of cancer development.”
Wang’s first step is to build a biological scaffold that provides structure and support for cells until the new tissue can assume that function. One challenge is using the right material. Most scaffolding materials are stiff, hard polymers, but because the prostate is a soft tissue, the researchers are using poly(glycerol sebacate), a biocompatible and biodegradable elastomer.
After constructing the scaffold and seeding the cells, the researchers will study prostate-cancer cells in the in-vitro, 3-D model and contrast their behavior with cancer cells in a 2-D model.
Although initially focused on prostate cancer, this in-vitro, 3-D model could be expanded to other diseases, such as breast, ovarian and lung cancer. “If successful, this 3-D model will enable in-vitro studies of human cancer cells in a more natural environment and provide a method for high-throughput testing of anticancer drugs,” Wang says.For more information, contact Yadong Wang at 404-385-5027 or email@example.com.
Contents    Research Horizons    GT Research News    GTRI    Georgia Tech
Send questions and comments regarding these pages to firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated: July 7, 2004