Researchers from the Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences in Krems (KL Krems) have launched a new project which could help gain insight into the development of bone metastases in breast cancer patients by generating a 3D model of bone-like scaffold.
The study also focuses on identifying biomarkers as well as new treatment strategies for the condition.
The team will be focusing on the endosteal niche in the bone that contains large amounts of osteoblasts, which are responsible for bone mineralisation.
In the first stage of the project the team will develop an in-vitro model of the endosteal niche using the 3D model of bone-like scaffold by culturing in a rotating bioreactor, that helps create lifelike replicas resembling the bone microenvironment,
The model will be studied to gain a better understanding of what directs tumour cells to invade the bone.
The team will then subject the model for biochemical and molecular-biological analysis, using ultra-high-definition micro-computed tomography, says project leader Sonia Vallet, a consultant at the Department of Internal Medicine at Krems University Hospital and senior scientist in the Molecular Oncology/Hematology working group at KL Krems.
Once the model has been established, the study will focus on gathering information about the development of bone metastasis in breast cancer. The team will investigate how osteoblasts support invasion and growth of breast cancer cells, as well as develop drug resistance.
Additionally, the researchers are aiming to identify biomarkers associated with these processes, which could possibly deliver diagnostic value.
“We will later test, conventional bone-targeted agents and others that are currently in the trial phase to find out whether and how they influence the various stages of bone metastasis development,” comments Dr Vallet.
Almost 15% of breast cancer patients suffer from bone metastasis. About nine out of ten patients with bone metastases do not survive longer than five years.
The research aims at developing more effective and personalised treatment in treating cancers.