Screening Chemotherapies for Effectiveness On Cultures Of Breast Cancer Biopsy Cells

Melissa Skala, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 372MedicalResearch Interview with:
Melissa Skala, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 37235

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Skala: We developed a new metabolic imaging technique that is highly sensitive to tumor cell response to anti-cancer drug treatment. We coupled this imaging technique with new, three-dimensional cultures that can be grown from breast tumor biopsies. Together, our data indicate that this approach could be used to perform rapid, low-cost, and accurate drug screens for individualized treatment of cancer patients.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Skala: New methods are available to assess cellular-level response to treatment in patient tumors. This approach can identify drugs that kill all treatment-resistant sub-populations of cells while avoiding drugs that cause unnecessary toxicities to patients.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Skala: These technologies can be used to design and develop drugs that aim to kill treatment resistant cells within tumors, for recurrence-free survival.
Citation:

Quantitative Optical Imaging of Primary Tumor Organoid Metabolism Predicts Drug Response in Breast Cancer
J. Walsh, R. S. Cook, M. E. Sanders, L. Aurisicchio, G. Ciliberto, C. L. Arteaga, M. C. Skala. Cancer Research, 2014; 74 (18): 5184 DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-0663