Cancer patients often have cells removed and tested to further investigate their disease. Unfortunately, life inside a three-dimensional tumour can be difficult to fathom from isolated cells in a laboratory dish. The 'canceroid' pictured could be the answer – a three-dimensional tumour model grown from a patient’s own cells, but outside their body, and sharing many traits with the original tumour. This canceroid was grown from colon cancer cells; coloured dyes highlight the life inside under a fluorescence microscope. Among the thousands of cells (each stained blue) are structural proteins (red), and BMI1 (green), a protein commonly found in stem cells and indicative of specific types of colon cancer. Canceroids offer a compromise to researchers: the flexibility of experimentation outside of the body, but the realism of looking inside living 3D tissue. Developed from a patient’s own tumour, canceroids also present huge potential for personalised medicine.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.