£350,000 funding for tissue engineering research to predict efficacy of cancer drugs

From Drug Discovery Today - November 29, 2017

A world expert in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (TERM) has been awarded a prestigious international prize from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). The prize fund will be used to create reliable breakthrough 3D engineered functional cancer disease models that can help predict the efficacy of cancer drugs, avoiding unnecessary animal testing and some clinical trials.

Prof. Rui L. Reis, from the University of Minho in Portugal, is the winner of the 350,000 IET A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize. He was chosen from high-calibre candidates from across the world as a result of his outstanding contributions and decades of excellent research in the field of 3D tissue engineering for regenerative therapies and disease models. The funding will support a further five years of work with the aim of creating a unique tissue engineering platform to generate 3D cancer microenvironments. These can be used as functional disease models for screening cancer drugs that are under development by the pharmaceutical industry, as well as novel therapies that are being tested by the medical community.

Prof. Rui L. Reis, said: Cancer has become the third most likely cause of death worldwide. One of the most serious obstacles facing scientists involved in the development and assessment of new anti-cancer drugs and therapies is the failure of preclinical cancer models being able to predict, in a reliable way, whether a given drug will have anti-cancer activity and acceptable toxicity in humans. Most animal models are not representative of human situations, and currently more than 70-80% of cancer research is based on 2D models which cant accurately replicate the three-dimensional properties of cancer cells such as tumours.

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