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Accelerating next generation personalised medicine

Project Member(s): Gallego Ortega, D.

Funding or Partner Organisation: National Breast Cancer Foundation (Investigator Initiated Research Scheme)
National Breast Cancer Foundation (Investigator Initiated Research Scheme)

Start year: 2021

Summary: BACKGROUND: Precision medicine aims to deliver personalised therapeutic intervention based on accurate data gathered from each patient. Thus, anticancer drug screening is pivotal in the personalised medicine framework. A major limitation is the lack of highthroughput models that can accurately inform about therapy responses in a biologically relevant environment that conserves both cancer cell diversity and the tumour ecosystem. METHODOLOGY: Here we present ALTEN, a pioneering tissue-engineering platform for anticancer drug screening directly in tumour biopsies. This biomimetic platform allows ex vivo culture of tumour tissue, preserving cell viability and diversity as well as the original tumour microenvironment. In this grant we propose to use ALTEN as a rapid high-throughput method for drug screening, enabling systematic assessment of therapeutic responses using conventional techniques such as immunohistochemistry. Additionally, we will combine ALTEN with the unprecedented capacity of scRNAseq to produce high-resolution transcriptional landscapes of drug responses in an integral tumour ecosystem to evaluate the potential of this strategy to uncover mechanisms of therapy resistance in breast cancer. AIMS: Aim 1: Preclinical benchmarking of the ALTEN system with conventional patient-derived xenografts. Aim 2: Verification of the drug screening capacity of ALTEN as a precision medicine tool and validation of scRNAseq analysis as a predictive strategy. Aim 3: Validation of the ALTEN medical device as a precision medicine tool in a clinical setting.

FOR Codes: Cancer cell biology, Solid tumours, Biomedical engineering, Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions, Efficacy of medications