Advanced biomimetic 3D models to mimic tumour-stroma

In vitro models of solid tumours can help elucidate the mechanisms of tumour growth, invasion and metastasis. It is known that the biophysical microenvironment of both tumour tissue and stromal tissue can control aspects of cellular signalling, function and status. Therefore precisely bioengineering both the cellular and biophysical microenvironment of tissues is important for the engineering of biomimetic tumour models. 3D in vitro tumour models are useful tools to measure the efficacy of specific therapeutic interventions and can be used as platforms to test novel drugs.

3D tumouroids are biomimetic tumour models, which have been bioengineered to compartmentalise the tumour and stroma tissue components. Tumouroids are bioengineered with a distinct boundary between compartments to allow for the precise quantification of cancer invasion from the tumour mass into the stromal compartment. Furthermore, as the model is developed using native extracellular matrix components, the remodelling of this matrix by both the tumour and associated stroma can be measured and studied. We have bioengineered tumouroids for colorectal, renal and osteosarcoma tumours with connective tissue stroma and bone stroma. These 3D tumouroids display clear hallmarks of tumour progression, including vascular remodelling and it is hoped that these are further developed to add the relevant tissue complexity, and thus become more biomimetic, to eventually replace early therapeutic intervention testing within in vivo models.