Tumor-like spheres help scientists discover smarter cancer drugs
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IMAGE: The researchers used a technique called confocal microscopy to confirm that the cell lines were forming spheres. Here is the BxPC-3-KRASWT cell line. view more 

Credit: Kota et. al./The Scripps Research Institute

JUPITER, FL – May 14, 2018 – Cancer is a disease often driven by mutations in genes. As researchers learn more about these genes, and the proteins they code for, they are seeking smarter drugs to target them. The ultimate goal is to find ways to stop cancer cells from multiplying out of control, thereby blocking the growth and spread of tumors.

Now researchers from The Scripps Research Institute are reporting an innovative new method to screen for potential cancer drugs. The technique makes use of tiny, three-dimensional ball-like aggregates of cells called spheroids. These structures can be used to interrogate hundreds or even thousands of compounds rapidly using a technique called high throughput screening. In fact, by using this approach, the team has already identified one potential drug for an important cancer gene. The results were reported in the journal Oncogene.

“What’s important about this research is that we’re able to do studies using a form of cancer cells that is more physiologically relevant and

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