The project

To develop relevant 3D models of different tumors, in order to better assess the efficiency of anticancer therapies.

97% of potential treatments tested on humans fail due to lack of efficacy (60%) or safety issues (30%). All cancer treatment aim at killing proliferating cells, but ultimately most cancers start again faster with final death of the patient.

Recent scientific publications confirm that solid tumours are characterized first by the stiffening of the microenvironment induced by stromal cells – namely fibroblasts. In fact, activated fibroblasts produce and accumulate solid elements of the matrix (GAGs, collagen fibers) around the cells that induce mechanical stress on cells. This is the first step toward a cancer, also named fibrosis state. The main hypothesis of these scientific publications is that cells react to this mechanical stress by proliferating and suffering an increasing genetic instability. Only targeting cancer cells by chemotherapy or immunotherapy without changing the underlying microenvironment is not sufficient. These researchers suggest targeting the modification of this microenvironment to find new treatments.

We need to recreate the whole biological system with cells in their diseased microenvironment that induce the mechanical stress on cells to improve drug testing. This project aims to develop relevant 3D models of different tumors with all features of the development of a tumor by using BIOMIMESYS technology.

Financial support

What we bring to the partnership

BIOMIMESYS is the unique hydroscaffold system combining both behaviors, solid scaffold (with structural proteins) and hydrogel behaviors (with adhesion proteins), making this technology the only one able to recreate the mechanical stress within a tumor.
We have already developped a generic matrix BIOMIMESYS Oncology, enriched in collagen I, since many tumors are characterized by increased collagen I content and increased stiffness. We are now working through different projects to develop a range of BIOMIMESYS products to fit specifically with different types of cancer (e.g. breast cancer and liver cancer) by changing its composition and stiffness. In particular, we are convinced that the stiffness of the matrix is responsible for cancer progresssion and relapse, influencing the behaviour cancer cells and surrounding cells (cancer-associated fibroblasts in particular) and promoting a vicious circle.*

We are also working on the vascularization of cancer tissues – antoher important parameter – through the use of microfluidics, since BIOMIMESYS is well adapted to such systems (see: BIOPHARMEMS project)!

List of partners

  • UMR Canther – UMR 9020 CNRS – UMR 1277 Inserm –Team of Pr Xuefen Le Bourhis (Dr. Samuel MEIGNAN, in the frame of pediatric high-grade gliomas ; Dr Karine Hannebicque, Dr Robert-Alain Toillon et Dr Chann Lagadex in the frame of breast cancer)
  • UMR Canther – UMR 9020 CNRS – UMR 1277 Inserm – Team of Dr Isabelle Van Seuningen and Vincent Senez (UMR CNRS/IEMN, Villeneuve d’Ascq), in the frame of pancreatic cancer
  • IEMN – Dr Anthony Treizebre, Dr Vincent Thomy and Dr Vincent Senez, for the development of microfluidic tools in various projects related to oncology

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