Department of Biomedical Engineering National University of Singapore
The TTE group leverages biomaterials to engineer in vitro and ex vivo tumors for personalized drug testing
Every patient’s cancer is unique. Two people with the same cancer who have the same age, gender, height, weight, and ethnicity, and who have similar medical histories, almost surely have two very different cancers biologically. Hence, there is no guarantee that the drug or drugs administered based on cohort response will work for that specific patient.
What if we could make copies of patient tumors in vitro to identify effective therapies for the patient through drug testing?
Focusing on head and neck cancers, we employ an interdisciplinary approach to generate translatable Reverse Engineered Tumors (RETs) for personalized drug testing.
We leverage biomaterials engineering strategies and in-depth knowledge of cancer biology and immunology to reconstruct patient tumors, combining patient-derived cancer cells with stromal cells to recapitulate tumor-stromal interactions in the tumor microenvironment.
We interface very closely with clinicians in the local hospitals and abroad as well as the pharmaceutical industry to develop these platforms.
Validation of these RETs as drug predictive models involves both preclinical and clinical evaluation.
Using advanced imaging and molecular methods, we also focus on mechanistic studies to elucidate the role of stromal heterogeneity on cancer progression and patient drug response; we have a particular interest in understanding how different CAF and TAM subpopulations influence immunotherapy resistance.
Please refer to articles below for research highlights:
Recreating the 3D Tumor Microenvironment
Modeling Ewing Sarcoma Tumors in vitro with 3D scaffolds (PNAS)
Three-dimensional (3D) culture of bone-derived human 786-O renal cell carcinoma retains relevant clinical characteristics of bone metastases (Cancer Letters)
Growing Patient-Derived Xenograft Tumors Using 3D Scaffolds
Hydrogel-based 3D model of patient-derived prostate xenograft tumors suitable for drug screening (Molecular Pharmaceutics)
Generation of Matched Patient-Derived Xenograft In Vitro-In Vivo Models using 3D Macroporous Hydrogels for the Study of Liver Cancer (Biomaterials)
Recapitulating Cancer-Stromal Interactions with Organoids in 3D Hydrogels
A 3D in vitro model of patient-derived prostate cancer xenograft for controlled interrogation of in vivo tumor-stromal interactions (Biomaterials)
Development of patient-derived colorectal cancer organoid models incorporating cancer-associated fibroblasts (Acta Biomaterialia)
Hepatocellular carcinoma organoid co-cultures mimic angiocrine crosstalk to generate inflammatory tumor microenvironment (Biomaterials)
Review Articles on Tumor Engineering
Hydrogels to Engineer the Tumor Microenvironment In Vitro (Biomaterials Science)
Heralding a New Paradigm in 3D Tumor Modeling (Biomaterials)
Hot or Cold: Bioengineering Immune Contextures into Patient-Derived In Vitro Tumor Models (Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews)
Engineering Stromal Heterogeneity in Cancer (Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews)