Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Glioma brain tumour cells grown on 3D bioengineered scaffolds rather than 2D structures mimic real life tumours more closely

05 January 2023

Seen in 3D

Life, at every scale, is complex and three-dimensional. So research that only looks at biological processes in two-dimensional models will often miss important details relevant to real life. This is particularly true for research into gliomas – a type of brain tumour. To overcome these limitations, researchers developed a 3D-engineered scaffold on which to grow cells for examination and experimentation. The team implanted tumour cells derived from patients on the scaffold, and found they successfully colonised the structure (pictured). The cells were more similar to tumour cells in the body than those cultured on 2D surfaces tend to be, it was easier to monitor the growth of individual cells, and the population was more stable. The scaffolds could therefore be used to closely study the natural behaviour of tumour cells – hopefully spotting any weaknesses for new treatments to target – and be a platform to test the impact of potential anti-cancer drugs.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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