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Research Advances from the Cancer Tissue Engineering Collaborative (TEC)

Tissue engineering platforms developed through TEC enable investigations that advance the understanding and treatment of cancer. 

Development of Cancer Tissue Engineered Models and Platforms  

Blood vessels play an important role in the tumor microenvironment and its response to treatments. Researchers with the MIT TEC Project developed a new method to improve vascularization (i.e., blood vessel growth) in tumor spheroids, which enabled a study of immunotherapy.

Investigators with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital TEC Project developed a cancer-on-a-chip model to examine tumor-immune interactions and test responses to immunotherapy

Dr. Shannon Mumenthaler et al. with the Ellison Institute/USC TEC Project developed a colorectal cancer--on-chip model that recapitulates the tumor microenvironment. Using this platform, they identified factors that play a role in early metastatic spread. 

Biological Discoveries with Cancer Tissue Engineered Models

Using 3D microtumor models, Dr. Shilpa Sant et al. with the University of Pittsburgh TEC Project revealed how microenvironmental factors promote collective cell migration in breast cancer

Using 3D models and an organ-on-a-chip system, Dr. Joanna Burdette et al. with the University of Illinois – Chicago TEC Project found that versican (an ovary secreted protein during ovulation) enhances the migration and invasion of fallopian tube epithelial cells, including cancerous cells. This finding suggests that versican may play a role in ovarian cancer metastasis. 

Using an engineered microtumor, investigators with the Boston University TEC Project revealed that adipose stroma influences breast cancer cell invasion via the secretion of factors.  

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