Drug Testing in Live Cultured Cancer Cells is Making A Comeback

 

As previously mentioned in prior posts, early assays to perform drug testing in cultured cancer cells from patient tumors were disappointing. However, the shortcomings of cancer genetic testing and PDX animal models, raised the need to develop new cancer tests that are: (1) less expensive and provides more rapid answers than PDX models; (2) provide a direct answer to which cancer drugs and the drug concentration required to kill cancer; and (3) evaluate the functional relevance of multiple gene mutations in cancer. Over the past few years, a resurgence of drug testing in cultured cancer cells has taken place using 3-dimensional (3-D) cell culture models called spheroids or organoids. In these assays, cancer cells are extracted from patient tumors and grown as 3-D structures. A growing amount of literature suggests that growing cancer cells in 3-D structures can be predictive in identifying the right cancer drug.

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