14 October 2022

New technology: 3D models of pancreatic tumors

New technology: 3D models of pancreatic tumors

A new technology that allows in vitro 3D modeling of pancreatic tumors, developed at CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, was the target of an international patent application with the support of UACOOPERA, the interface structure of the University of Aveiro (UAveiro) with the outside world. This invention by the COMPASS group allows the development of mini tumor tissues in the laboratory to accelerate the discovery and testing of new therapeutic methodologies for this type of cancer.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is the most fatal and most common type of pancreatic cancer, accounting for about 95% of all diagnosed pancreatic cancers. In Portugal, this type of cancer is currently also one of the deadliest, and is expected to become the leading cause of cancer death in the country by 2030.

The research group COMPASS led by João Mano, professor at the Department of Chemistry (DQ) at the University of Aveiro (UAveiro) and member of the associated laboratory CICECO and professor at DQ, has developed a three-dimensional pancreatic tumor tissue model in vitro, with the morphology found in human tumors, within the scope of the PANGEIA project (funded under POCI, by FEDER), coordinated by Vítor Gaspar. This technology allows to mimic different types of pancreatic tumor morphologies in the laboratory, and can be the basis of a kit for evaluation of advanced or personalized therapies, based on immunotherapy or Nanomedicine in a context closer to the real patient.

In addition, the technology now developed also opens new lines of research in fundamental studies of cancer biology and diagnosis, including the study and discovery of new biomarkers or mechanisms of drug resistance, as well as opening doors for computational modeling of tumor development.

A group of inventors of this technology, also with the support of UACOOPERA, created the spin-off Cellularis Biomodelsto commercially exploit this new tumor disease model.

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