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‘Silk-protein-based tumour models for testing out cancer’

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    9th Feb, 2021

Researchers from IIT Guwahati have come up with silk-protein–based tumour 3D model for testing cancer drugs.

Context

Researchers from IIT Guwahati have come up with silk-protein–based tumour 3D model for testing cancer drugs.

About

Key features of the Model

  • Bio-activity: It involves fabrication of a bio-active composite of silk proteins from two species of silk moths.
  • 3-D base: It builds a scaffold that provides a three-dimensional base for growing tumours.
  • Imitate native environment: This 3D silk-based tumour model imitates native tumour microenvironment, complex tumour physiology and metastasis, thus improving drug screening efficacy.

How scientists built scaffolds?

  • The scientists mixed the silk fibroins extracted from the cocoons of the domestic silk moth(Bombyx mori) and the silk glands of the muga silk moth (Antheraea assama) in equal proportions and used them to build up scaffolds on which they grew breast and liver tumour cell cultures.
  • As a proof of concept, the researchers created breast and liver tumouroids and these showed similar tumour physiology in 3D spatiotemporal arrangements and drug-resistance, as in native solid tumours.
  • They also tested the screening capacity of the tumours on known anticancer drugs, Doxorubicin and Paclitaxel.
  • The tumoroids grown on the silk composite exhibited increased resistance to cancer drugs (as in native conditions) compared to monolayers and spheroids.

The need

  • Normally, cancer drugs are tested using patient-derived primary cancer cells, on tumours induced in animal models or on genetically modified organisms.
  • These models are insufficient to reproduce the three-dimensional morphology and physiology of human tumours.
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