Artificially engineered breast cancer tissue offers platform for drug testing

26 Sep

A team of Auburn University researchers is engineering artificial breast cancer tissue that will provide fellow cancer researchers with a 3-D model on which they can test cancer drugs.

The research conducted by Assistant Professor Elizabeth Lipke and doctoral student Shantanu Pradhan in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering’s Department of Chemical Engineering is part of a growing focus worldwide on engineering cancer tissue in a 3-D format, rather than the 2-D format biologists have traditionally used to grow cancer cells.

The research in Lipke’s lab has historically focused on engineering cardiac tissue and developing cardiac regeneration techniques, but Pradhan found a link between that research and cancer-related angiogenesis, which is the growth of new blood vessels.

“Cancer is an area that biomedical engineers, and in particular tissue engineers, are just starting to get into modeling, but people have been working on tissue engineering for cardiac and other applications for a lot longer,” Lipke said. “In terms of understanding cancer biology, we’re really at the beginning of applying the things we know from other organ systems to understanding cancer in three dimensions.”

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