Traditionally in research, cancer cells are grown on a dish that only allows them to expand horizontally in a two-dimensional (2-D) layer. However, inside humans, tumors develop in a three-dimensional (3-D) space, which has been hard to mimic externally. Researchers recently created a new model to study cancer in 3-D by growing cancer cells in miniature balls. They were able to profile the gene expression pattern of the cancer cells grown in this system and identify a new class of drugs effective at targeting the dormant cancer cells grown in 3-D but not in 2-D. Thus, this new 3-D cancer model can serve as a novel screening tool to discover new anticancer drugs.
- Senkowski W, Jarvius M, Rubin J, et al. Large-scale gene expression profiling platform for identification of context-dependent drug responses in multicellular tumor spheroids. Cell Chem Biol. Published online October 27, 2016. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chembiol.2016.09.013.