FEB 25, 2019 06:24 PM PST

3D Hydrogel Advances Drug Discovery

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Researchers have developed a 3D hydrogel based on hyaluronic acid, a biocompatible substance. The gel could quickly and effectively screen hundreds of potential drugs in the treatment of highly invasive cancers. Previously, 3D hydrogels were used to enhance stem cells for overcoming certain diseases or degeneration. However, in this study the gels are used to mimic the environment of lung cancer—allowing cancer cells to invade instead of healthy cells.

Learn more about the general use of hydrogels:

Cell invasion represents a critical hallmark of cancer and the gel intends to represent that purpose. "In highly invasive diseases, there is a crucial need to screen for both of these functions," says U of T Engineering Professor Molly Shoichet. "We now have a way to do this. We can conduct this in a 384-well plate, which is no bigger than your hand. And with image-analysis software, we can automate this method to enable quick, targeted screenings for hundreds of potential cancer treatments.”

One example used in the study is the drug screening for a rare lung disease affecting females-- lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). The study screened for more than 800 drugs for both cancer-cell growth and invasion and results were published in Advanced Materials.

LAM cells growing within the hydrogel designed to emulate the microenvironment of the lung.

Credit: Molly Shoichet

"This has, and continues to be, a great collaboration that is advancing knowledge at the intersection of engineering and biology," says Shoichet.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran enjoys writing on various topics including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
NOV 13, 2018
Drug Discovery
NOV 13, 2018
Clinical Trial Drug For a Rare Neurodegenrative Disease Proven Unsuccessful
Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) is a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disease. Symptoms of the condition include loss of balance, difficulty swallowing, seizures...
NOV 25, 2018
Drug Discovery
NOV 25, 2018
'Longevity protein' Improves Healing in Aging Muscles
A downside to aging is that the skeletal muscles lose their ability to heal after muscle injury. However, a recent research study at the University of Pitt...
DEC 19, 2018
Drug Discovery
DEC 19, 2018
Promising Drug for ALS?
ALS, standing for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting the nerve cel...
DEC 23, 2018
Drug Discovery
DEC 23, 2018
Buruli ulcer: promising drug for a forgotten disease
One of the most forgotten and neglected diseases is Buruli ulcer, a debilitating and stigmatized condition affecting primarily children in West and Central...
FEB 01, 2019
Cardiology
FEB 01, 2019
Parents Prefer Opioids For Their Children Despite Risks
Opioid abuse has become an epidemic in the United States. It is estimated that 72,000 deaths were the result of opioid abuse in 2017. The hardest hit state...
FEB 20, 2019
Drug Discovery
FEB 20, 2019
Cocktail of Common Antibiotics Fights E. coli Infections
Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark are working towards finding new methods for battling antibiotic resistant bacteria. Currently, many dise...
Loading Comments...