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HemoShear Technology Creates the First Dynamic 3D Human Tumor Model

Tuesday, May 8, 2018  
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Researchers at the University of Virginia have utilized HemoShear’s REVEAL-Tx platform to create a multi-cellular three-dimensional model of the tumor microenvironment for pancreatic cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.  These models have the potential to accelerate the discovery and development of drugs for a range of solid cancerous tumors. Daniel Gioeli, PhD, Associate Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology at UVA conducted this work in collaboration with HemoShear and is presenting the models for the first time this week at a workshop being held in Boston during the 3D Tissue Models in Oncology Conference.

“Up to 95 percent of cancer drugs fail in clinical trials, and we need more predictive models that reflect the complexity of human tumors,” says Dr. Gioeli.  “This is the closest we have ever come to recreating a human tumor. For the first time, a model has been created that has the potential to replicate the complex nature and behavior of a tumor, which will enable us to better understand the disease and accurately assess potential treatments.”

Tumors contain numerous cell types as well as a complex extracellular matrix, all of which contribute to the growth and survival of cancer cells, as well as posing potential targets for therapeutic intervention. Funded by a Small Business Innovation Research contract from the National Cancer Institute and the Virginia Bioscience Health Research Corporation, Dr. Gioeli led a team at HemoShear and continued the work in his laboratory at UVA to recreate the tumor microenvironment using REVEAL-Tx to incorporate human vascular endothelial cells exposed to mechanical shear forces from blood flow that occur in tumors. The new 3D models provide a unique platform to rigorously test potential treatment strategies in the tumor microenvironment through manipulating individual components in a controlled fashion that is not possible through other existing methods.

These new dynamic tumor models replicate the changes in tissue caused by cancer and can be used in two important ways. The system will enable researchers to interrogate the tumor microenvironment and make novel discoveries in how cancer cells survive, grow, and become resistant to therapy.  In addition, a patient’s tumor biopsy or tumor post-surgery can be used to create an ‘avatar’ of the tumor in the system to assess the effectiveness of different drugs against the patient’s tumor – an important step towards personalized cancer treatment.

“HemoShear is proud that our platform has been utilized to create such a potentially powerful tool for cancer drug discovery,” says Brian Wamhoff, PhD, Head of Innovation. “Cancers are relentlessly dynamic, with constant change and adaptation. Our system enables researchers to penetrate the inner workings of the tumor to better understand this process and systematically assess new ways to disrupt tumor growth.”

While on sabbatical from UVA, Dr. Gioeli was Senior Director of Cancer Biology at HemoShear where he worked to develop the 3D tumor model. He plans to continue his research at UVA in collaboration with HemoShear to expand the applicability of the 3D human tumor model system.

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