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In vitro human model for tumor target screening in Cancer research

H. Mertsching, M. Weimer and H. Brunner
Fraunhofer Institute of Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology, DE

3D vascularized scaffold, test system, cancer, therapy

Monolayer and suspension cultures are still a highly artificial cellular environment for target screening and drug development. They have limited predictive value for target screening especially for nanomaterials. Target screening requires testsystems that mimic the human cancer with increasing accuracy in order to optimize the selection of potential effectors.
Tissue engineering is not only the generation of tissues it should also indentify biological principles of cellular behaviour.
We developed a new 3D vascularised test system. This system is based on decellularized porcine small bowl segments and preserved tubular structures of the capillary network within the collagen matrix which is functional associated with one small vein and artery (vascularised matrix). This vascularised matrix enables the generation of a functional artificial vascular network. Therefore the vascular network is populated with endothelial cells. Stain for vitality and the specific endothelial markers such as CD31, VE-Cadherin and Flk-1 matched functional finding by Insulin dependent FDG uptake predominantly in the region of the former vascular structures. This bioartificial vascularised matrix can be additional populated with tumour cells to create ex vivo vascularised tumour-like structures.
This model offers the possibility to simulate physiological drug application and a human 3D testsystem to established nanomaterials/systems for cancer research/therapy.

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