Patent of the Week: A 3D Culture System for Ovarian Cancer Research

Patent of the Week

Researchers – including Ernst Lengyel, Arthur L. and Lee G. Herbst Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Chicago – have developed a 3D culture system that enables users to evaluate the adhesion, migration, invasion, and spread of ovarian cancer cells in a tumor microenvironment.

As the researchers explained in a paper, “the tumor microenvironment plays an important role in the processes of metastasis and drug resistance.” However, many drug discovery programs use cancer cells cultured in 2D on plastic – an ineffective model for drug screening which has led to a high failure rate in developing new treatments.

The 3D culture system, alternatively, “faithfully represents the histologic and biologic complexity of the most common sites” of ovarian cancer metastasis. In studies, this enabled the researchers to more reliably identify compounds that effectively prevent cancer from spreading.

These results “underscore the importance of performing screens for new drugs using model systems that more faithfully recapitulate tissue architecture at the metastatic site,” the researchers said.

The system is available to license for use in research and drug discovery.

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// Patent of the Week is a weekly column highlighting research and inventions from University of Chicago faculty.


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