Personalized in vitro cancer modeling — Fantasy or reality?

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With greater technological advancements and understanding of pathophysiology, “personalized medicine” has become a more realistic goal. In the field of cancer, personalized medicine is the ultimate objective, as each cancer is unique and each tumor is heterogeneous. For many decades, researchers have relied upon studying the histopathology of tumors in the hope that it would provide clues to understanding the pathophysiology of cancer. Current preclinical research relies heavily upon two-dimensional culture models. However, these models have had limited success in recreating the complex interactions between cancer cells and the stroma environment in vivo. Thus, there is increasing impetus to shift to three-dimensional models, which more accurately reflect this phenomenon. With amore accurate in vitro tumormodel, drug sensitivity can be tested to determine the best treatment option based on the tumor characteristics. Many methods have been developed to create tumormodels or “tumoroids,” each with its advantages and limitations. One significant problemfaced is the replication of angiogenesis that is characteristic of tumors in vivo. Nonetheless, if three-dimensional models could be standardized and implemented as a preclinical research tool for therapeutic testing,wewould be taking a step towardsmaking personalized cancermedicine a reality.




Bartlett, R., Everett, W., Lim, S., Natasha, G., Loizidou, M., Jell, G., … Seifalian, A. M. (2014). Personalized in vitro cancer modeling — Fantasy or reality? Translational Oncology. Translational Oncology Editorial Office.

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