Exploring the different roles of potential cancer drug targets in 3D vs. 2D cell culture; effects on growth and viability under these conditions and implications for translating in vitro effectiveness into success in vivo

University of Glasgow

Past award

Daphne Jackson Fellow: Dr Susan MacDonald

Year Award Started: 2016

Preclinical data does not always translate into clinical effectiveness for new cancer treatments. Mimicking the tumour microenvironment in a more effective way may aid in the translation of clinical effectiveness from in vitro data. 3D spheroids, incorporating co-cultures and organoids, grown with a suitable extracellular matrix, mimic the tumour microenvironment and therefore can generate more physiologically relevant data. Assays involving the 3D cultures will be measured using image analysis systems. To aid validation, expression of cell adhesion molecules and cell surface markers in 2D versus 3D cultures will be studied. Evidence of the expression of proteins of interest using techniques such as western blotting and immunohistochemistry will be established. The hallmarks of cancer will be measured using a number of phenotypic assays, for example proliferation, migration, apoptosis and invasion, in a spheroid system. RNAi approaches can be further useful tools due to the lack of inhibitory compounds in early stage research of novel anti-cancer drugs.

Research area: Cancer


Dr Heather McKinnon
Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute