In cancer, normal cells are recruited and corrupted to act as a life-giving microenvironment for the tumour. Our exhibit shows how we’ve deconstructed tumours, used the information to begin to re-build cancer in the lab, in ways that will allow us to test vital new treatments that target its life-support.
Tumours are not just formed from cancerous cells, but of many other normal cells - such as immune cells and fibroblasts - which help the cancer to grow and spread. In the CANBUILD project , cancer researchers, bioengineers and tissue engineers have meticulously studied ovarian cancer tissues so that we can authentically reconstruct tumours in the lab. This will allow us to test new treatments that target the microenvironment of cancer. For example, new therapies that ‘re-educate’ immune cells so that they destroy malignant cells. These treatments are leading to long-term survival in some patients even when their cancer has spread but research is needed to increase the success rate of these treatments.
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Presented by: Land Design Studio, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary University of London, Cancer Research UK, Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London, Centre of the Cell, Queen Mary University of London
Ovarian cancer cell picture. By understanding how normal cells are corrupted by cancel cells to help the cancer grow, we can might be able to re-educate these normal cells to destroy cancer instead. Credit: Barts Cancer Institute