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E2million ERC project aims to revolutionise the study of cancer cells

Mouse model of ovarian cancer
Mouse model of ovarian cancer
Researchers from Queen Mary Institute of Bioengineering have been awarded a E2.43million grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for a project which aims to revolutionise the field of cancer cell research by using bioengineering techniques to grow the first complex 3-dimensional human tumour microenvironment in the laboratory.

In the CANBUILD project the multi-disciplinary team of scientists will be using the latest advances in tissue engineering, biomechanics, imaging and stem cell biology which they believe will make it possible to engineer, for the first time, a complex 3-dimensional human tumour in which the different cell types of the tumour microenvironment will communicate, evolve and grow in vitro (outside the body, in the laboratory).

The principal investigator, Professor Fran Balkwill said that "Growing an in vitro model will allow us to watch how the cells communicate and how the tumour grows, teaching us more about what is going on in this complex system and hopefully giving us a model we can test new drugs on."

The CANBUILD Team at Queen Mary, University of London:
Barts Cancer Institute: Professor Frances Balkwill, Dr Thorsten Hagemann, Dr Michelle Lockley
William Harvey Research Institute: Professor Sussan Nourshargh
Blizard Institute: Dr John Connelly, Professor Ian MacKenzie
School of Engineering and Materials Science: Professor Martin Knight

News date: 22 August 2013

Updated by: David Lockwood

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