Development of Predictive Pre-Clinical “Organoid Model” for Colon Cancer with “QGel Synthetic Extracellular Matrices.
- To build on the colon cancer results using patient-derived material (i.e., colon cancer organoids) established in Switzerland by the company QGel with leading Swiss hospitals, and translate this cutting-edge technology to save the lives of Iranians afflicted by colon cancer.
- Apply tests on colon cancer tissue obtained from patients for precision medicine, and to better predict treatment plans for patients in Iran with the disease
- Deploy the biobank for pharmaceutical drug development in Iran, including the test of anticancer compounds, whether generic or pipeline compounds, to measure relevant drug response and predict compound success
- To develop personalized cancer therapy in Iran
- To maximize therapeutic effects and minimize adverse effects of drugs used for cancer
- To tailor right drug with right dose to right patients at right time
Colon cancer is a common cause of death in Iran. The lack of model systems that recapitulate the disease have prevented our understanding of colon cancer and the development of adequate therapy. Overcoming the poor clinical predictability of current cancer models would build the foundation for clinical tests for “personalized therapies”. Specifically, we will use organoids combined with highly novel synthetic “QGel Microenvironment Technology” to overcome current hurdles related to ex vivo culture of patient-derived colon cancer cells. Identified conditions that enable ex vivo cultures of patient-derived cancer cells will be validated functionally with drugs and genomic tools and compared to clinical data. From a business perspective, no products on the market today can reliably enable the use of patient-derived cells ex vivo. The scientific success of this project would translate into products that would impact national health policy as it would identify the right patient for adequate therapy, thus significantly reducing treatment costs.
Our hypothesis consists of the interactions between colon cancer cells with their extracellular matrix (ECM) environment and the subsequent activation of genetic drivers of colon cancer that promote uncontrolled tumor growth.
Lack of proper cell-ECM interactions may explain the irrelevance of bona fide driver mutations to cellular growth and the extremely low take on rates of colon cancer cells in standard (e.g., 2D) cell culture methods. Thus, our novelty that no previous study has achieved, is to scientifically dissect, understand and validate which regulatory signals of the extracellular microenvironment, either tethered to a gel matrix and/or soluble, that are responsible for the activation of colon cancer founder events in organoids established from patient-derived cancer cells.
Project’s potentials for regional and international collaborations:
The Non-Communicable Diseases Research Center (NCDRC) fosters pioneering collaborations with organizations and institutions around the world. We work with businesses, universities, policy makers and more to bring the benefits of our expertise to industry and society. During this project, we will develop a scientific collaboration network with Q-Gel company and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne to transfer, develop and localization of organoid technology in Iran.