Collaboration Employs New Strategies to Study the Spread of Cancer | Weill Cornell Medicine

Collaboration Employs New Strategies to Study the Spread of Cancer | Weill Cornell Medicine

The word collaboration to me really is something that’s essential for research. Collaboration is absolutely essential for
success in science, particularly for science that’s as complicated as cancer. No one person has expertise to understand
all the tools, all the technologies. We need to have experts in many different
fields work together in order to be successful. Bringing them together and letting them teach
each other and develop completely new approaches to solving cancer. It’s a chance to dramatically accelerate
the progress of research. That’s what the future is, that’s what
we’re excited about. My name is Lewis Cantley
and I am Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine. Cancer is incredibly complicated. Virtually no two people have exactly the same cancer There are thousands of genes that can be mutated For decades cancer research has relied upon cancer cell lines These are cells grown on plastic that don’t represent the true cancer Now however we can actually grow the tumors outside the patient as an organoid
that very much mimics the true tumor growing in all of its heterogeneity
Our goal at this point is to understand the very early steps of metastasis
and how we can prevent them with drugs. My name is Claudia Fishbach-Teschl
I’m an associate professor at the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell
and I’m the director of the new Center on the Physics of Cancer Metabolism. For us to really run meaningful experiments
we need to capture the heterogeneity that is representative of the patient. Weill Cornell is providing us with patient-derived
cells in the form of organoids and then we place them into our model systems
culture models including micro-fluidic devices that we’re
fabricating here at the center for nano-scale fabrication. So now you can imagine putting an organoid
into an engineered environment that will allow us to mimic what’s more representative of the body of a normal patient. In a petri dish you have a soup in which the
cells are based, and they’re always exposed to the same molecules,
there’s no temporal difference, and here in these microfluidic devices we can pattern channels into three dimensional cultures and now look at how tumor cells interact with
blood vessels and how we can use them to deliver drugs and test how they’re being
distributed, and this is something that cannot be done
without three dimensional culture devices. The goal is to identify drugs or drug combinations
that are already approved that we can identify the patients that will
respond to that drug or drug combination and initiate a trial to prove that it actually
works. Pharmaceutical companies don’t have access
to these fresh biopsies of metastatic patients. We do. We are seeing a time in cancer that’s really
the tipping point that’s going to change the whole process of therapy
and have a huge impact in the disease. I’m very excited about the future. The future is extremely exciting in many ways
and I think cancer research is having another
revolution. In the end all we care about is to improve
patients’ lives and to increase the chance for them to be treated more successfully. I’m super excited because we get to work
together and we’re going to do great things together.

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