Cancer-related morbidity and mortality represent a huge social and economic problem worldwide. Despite significant public and private investment in cancer research, there have still been no major advances in the treatment of most types of cancer. Success in the selection of anti-carcinogenic substances (agents) using high-throughput screening (HTS) has been very modest, due to the limited physiological relevance of the cancer models and cellular assays used up to now.
In this project, we developed innovative cell biological procedures which will help to create new generations of cancer models. A range of methods to generate three-dimensional (3D) cultures were developed. These 3D models included spheroids, heterotypic co-cultures and reporter cell lines. Using the models, it was possible to partially reconstruct the pathophysiological state of a tumour in vitro. In the course of several test series, it was shown that the standardized screening of agents was possible using the new 3D cell cultures.
The project was funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency under the “Aufbau” funding line of the COIN – Cooperation and Innovation programme.