Improving Cancer Drug Screening with 3D Cell Culture

Differential contrast image of HCT116 colon cancer spheroid grown in a 96-well hanging-drop platform after seeding with 800 cells. Copyright Promega Corporation.
Differential contrast image of HCT116 colon cancer spheroid grown in a 96-well hanging-drop platform after seeding with 800 cells. Copyright Promega Corporation.
Tissue culture using primary or cultured cell lines has long been a mainstay of testing compounds for inhibiting cell growth or promoting apoptosis during screening for cancer drugs. However, the standard culture conditions result in monolayers of cells, dividing and growing across the bottom of a well, plate or flask in a single layer. The drawback of this technique is that organisms do not come in monolayers; a three-dimensional (3D) spheroid is closer to the in vivo state, especially if the spheroids are made up of more than one cell type like tumors in multicellular organisms. Even more beneficial would be using 3D cultured cells in high-throughput screening to facilitate compound profiling for target effectiveness and cytotoxicity. In a recent PLOS ONE article, researchers used normal and breast cancer cells both in monoculture and coculture to test a set of compounds and found results differed between 2D and 3D cultured cells. Continue reading “Improving Cancer Drug Screening with 3D Cell Culture”

Breast Cancer(s) Heterogeneity and Personalized Treatments

Image used with permission of Dr. Hongdi Liu.
Image used with permission of Dr. Hongdi Liu.
Recently Promega hosted a special guest from Duke University—Dr. Neil. L. Spector, one of leading scientists in the field of breast cancer research. In a simple way  Dr. Spector presented advances in this field of cancer research and informed us of new treatments that have the potential to improve patient lives. Continue reading “Breast Cancer(s) Heterogeneity and Personalized Treatments”

Milk (Fat) Does a Body Good

One Milk Marketing Board campaign uses celebrities to promote its product by photographing them with milk moustaches. Glamour aside, selling cow’s milk is important to the livelihood of many farmers worldwide and generates a variety of well-appreciated products. What would pizza be without cheese? Summer without ice cream? Lunches without yogurt? Mashed potatoes without butter? Flammkuchen without crème fraiche? You can see where I am going with this. I live in America’s Dairyland where people commonly drink milk with meals. I think there is nothing better than a cold glass of milk with a rich chocolate cake. However, the Milk Marketing Board has missed a significant finding: milk fats can attenuate metastasis and some of the systemic effects of cancer and chemotherapy—at least in mice. Continue reading “Milk (Fat) Does a Body Good”

Does Your Daily Cup of Coffee Affect Your Risk of Cancer?

Coffee beansIs there an association between coffee consumption and incidence of cancer? The answer seems to depend on whom you ask, the study group involved, how much and what type of coffee the study participants drank and a host of other factors. Many research studies have found no link or only a weak link between the two, but recently a new study that showed a stronger association between coffee consumption and a lower risk of prostate cancer was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (1). Why should we believe this new study when so many other studies have been unable to show a strong link?
Continue reading “Does Your Daily Cup of Coffee Affect Your Risk of Cancer?”