The Cancer Tissue Engineering Collaborative (TEC) Research Program supports the development and characterization of state-of-the-art biomimetic tissue-engineered technologies for cancer research. Collaborative, multidisciplinary projects that engage the fields of regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, biomaterials, and bioengineering with cancer biology will be essential for generating novel experimental models that mimic cancer pathophysiology to elucidate specific cancer phenomena that are otherwise difficult to examine in vivo.
The Cancer TEC Research Program will catalyze the advancement of innovative, well characterized in vitro and ex vivo systems available for cancer research, expand the breadth of these systems to several cancer types, and promote the exploration of cancer phenomena with biomimetic tissue-engineered systems.
History of TEC
Three workshops have been sponsored by the NCI to assess the status of tissue-engineered systems in cancer and to identify gaps. In April 2012, a Physical Sciences – Oncology Network (PS-ON) workshop was held to discuss areas where physical sciences principles from tissue engineering and developmental biology could open new avenues in cancer research. Participants highlighted the need for development of synthetic in vitro and ex vivo engineered systems to better probe key factors in tissues and their microenvironment important in cancer. The consensus of the participants was that these factors could be best studied in physiologically relevant and controlled tissue-engineered systems.
To further explore the status of tissue-engineered technologies in cancer, a second targeted PS-ON workshop on Biomimetic Tissue Engineered Systems for Advancing Cancer Research was held in February 2014. The workshop highlighted examples of how tissue-engineered technologies are currently being applied to cancer research to study angiogenesis, migration, and therapeutic resistance. Workshop participants identified areas for future focus based on existing research and gaps in cancer biology.
Finally, in April 2015, a joint workshop was held with the National Science Foundation on Additive Manufacturing for Tumor Engineering. The workshop highlighted several barriers to constructing tissue-engineered systems for cancer research, including the need for their robust pathophysiological characterization. Participants recommended the formation of multidisciplinary partnerships to construct and characterize tissue-engineered models of cancer. It was suggested that characterization of systems could include, but not be limited to, biological comparisons of in vivo and clinical datasets.
TEC Funding Opportunities and Related Resources
PAR-22-099 - Cancer Tissue Engineering Collaborative: Enabling Biomimetic Tissue-Engineered Technologies for Cancer Research (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)