3D hydrogels as a foundation for cell cultures related to cancer research
Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Barcelona - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (ICMAB-CSIC), Spain
Immunotherapy is one of the most promising fields of research in the fight against cancer, but it requires both basic and applied research to overcome some of the limitations identified to date. For example, in the case of personalised immunotherapies based on CAR-T cells, it is important to improve cell production systems to make them more efficient in terms of quality, cost and manufacturing time. Better preclinical tools for tumour study and the subsequent development of new drugs and therapies would also be beneficial. Currently, researchers predominantly use animal models, which entail high ethical and economic costs, and pose translational problems due to the differences that exist between species (for example, between mice and humans).
To overcome such limitations, the team has developed hybrid hydrogels capable of mimicking various types of tissue, both healthy and malignant, and that allow for improved 3D cell cultures for cancer research applications. Preliminary results with these hydrogels show advantages over currently available options. On the one hand, they enable cell products for immunotherapies to be obtained in a shorter period of time, which could potentially reduce their price, currently a significant barrier. On the other hand, they facilitate the manufacture of patient-derived organoids which could, in turn, reduce animal testing and improve the development of personalised drugs and therapies. The project will work to validate and mature this technology.
Biohybrid hydrogels as Artificial Tissues against Cancer