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Cancer Tissue Engineering Collaborative (TEC)

Representative image for the Cancer Tissue Engineering Collaborative

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 catalyzes the advancement of innovative, well characterized in vitro and ex vivo systems available for cancer research, expands the breadth of these systems to several cancer types, and promotes the exploration of cancer phenomena with biomimetic tissue-engineered systems.

History of Cancer 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.

  • PAR-22-099 - Cancer Tissue Engineering Collaborative: Enabling Biomimetic Tissue-Engineered Technologies for Cancer Research (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)
  • Slides from a TEC pre-application webinar
  • FAQs from TEC funding opportunity announcements

Cancer TEC News

At the 2023 AACR Annual Meeting, Dr. Steven Becker (a DCB Program Director) gave an NCI Meet-the-Expert presentation on TEC and Opportunities for Biomaterials Research. A summary of the talk can be found on Twitter

Cancer TEC Associate Membership

The goal of the Cancer TEC Associate Membership program is to provide an opportunity for those who are not currently funded by the Cancer TEC program to engage in Cancer TEC activities and potentially form collaborations with Cancer TEC funded investigators. Additional information, including eligibility, expectations of associate members, and the application form, can be found on the Cancer TEC Associate Membership webpage.

Cancer TEC Social Media

TEC research and funding opportunities are shared on Twitter: @NCIPhySci

Contact for Cancer TEC

For additional information about the TEC, please contact Dr. Steven Becker.

Funded Projects

Institution Principal Investigator(s) Project Title
Auburn University Elizabeth A. Lipke, Michael W. Greene Engineered Colon Cancer Tissue to Examine the Role of the Obese Microenvironment in Tumor Aggressiveness
Brigham and Women's Hospital  Shrike Zhang, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa A Bioprinted Volumetric Model of Vascularized Glioblastoma
Columbia University Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic Cancer Patient on a Chip
Cornell University Esak Lee Tissue-Engineered Models of Lymphatic Drainage in Breast Cancer
University of Arizona Cynthia Miranti, Yitshak Zohar Bioengineered Prostate-on-Chip: Mechanisms of Stromal Dysregulation in Prostate Cancer
University of Chicago Melody Swartz Probing Cellular, Molecular and Biomechanical Barriers to Immunotherapy in the Tumor Microenvironment with Organotypic In Vitro Models of the Tumor-Lympho-Immune Interface
University of Illinois Joanna E. Burdette,  Jonathan Coppeta Dynamic Interactions of the Ovarian-Fallopian Axis in High Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Brendan Harley Perivascular Tissue Models to Overcome MGMT-Mediated Temozolomide Resistance in Glioblastoma
University of Miami Daniel Pelaez, William Harbour 3-Dimensional Retinal Organoid Platform for the Study of Retinoblastoma
University of Nevada Reno Bahram A. Parvin A Novel Breast Cancer Therapy Based on Secreted Protein Ligands from CD36+ Fiibroblasts
University of New South Wales Kristopher Kilian, John Copland Microtumor Arrays for the Development of Combination Therapies
University of Pittsburgh Shilpa Sant Three-Dimensional Organoid Models to Study Breast Cancer Progression
University of Southern California Shannon Mumenthaler A Microengineered Colon Cancer-Chip to Investigate Tumor-Stromal Interactions
University of Texas at Austin Stephanie Seidlits Tissue-Engineered Models of Microvessel-Mediated Glioblastoma Invasion
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Emina Huang, Xiling Shen, Michael Shuler An Organotypic Model Recapitulating Colon Cancer Microenvironment and Metastasis
University of Wisconsin Pamela Kreeger, Kristyn Masters, Paul Campagnola Engineered ECM Platforms to Analyze Progression in High Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer
Vanderbilt University Michael King Enabling Technology to Study Mechanosensitive and Mechanoresistant Cancer Cells in Flow
Yale University Rong Fan, Jiangbing Zhou Ex Vivo Analysis of Human Brain Tumor Cells in a Microvascular Niche Model

Past Projects

Institution Principal Investigator(s) Project Title
Boston University Joe Tien, Celeste Nelson Engineered Invasive Human Breast Tumors with Integrated Capillaries and Lymphatics
Brigham and Women’s Hospital Ali Khademhosseini,  Shiladitya Sengupta Engineering Personalized Micro-Tumor Ecosystems
Harvard University David Mooney, Jennifer Lewis, F. Stephen Hodi 3D Models of Immunotherapy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Roger Kamm, David Barbie  Development of Physiologic Tissue Models to Assess Tumor Explant Response to Immune Checkpoint Blockade
University of California, San Francisco Manish K. Aghi, Sanjay Kumar Modeling and Druggable-Genome Screening of Glioblastoma Invasion Using Regional Biopsy-Guided Biomaterials Systems
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