A Major Step Towards Individualized Cancer Therapy


Source: Kyoto University

Summary: Researchers succeeded in establishing a powerful and convenient model to analyze human cancer.


Researchers from the Kyoto University’s Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) and colleagues in the U.S. have developed a chicken egg tumour model in which cultured ovarian cancer cells are transplanted on top of the membrane that surrounds a 10-day-old chicken embryo. An ovarian tumour forms on top of the membrane within three days of transplantation. The team had similar results when they used ovarian tumour samples taken directly from patients, showing that their chicken egg model provides a convenient system for replicating human cancer. This conclusion is supported by their detailed characterization of the tumour, demonstrating that it possesses all major cancer features. The study findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Cancer treatment

Researchers developed a faster and cheaper way to test cancer drugs to develop patient-specific treatments. Credit: Kyoto University iCeMS

The team also developed a new type of biodegradable silica nanoparticle called biodegradable PMO, which is only 200 nanometres in size. The nanoparticles were loaded with the anti-cancer drug doxorubicin and were tested on human ovarian tumour established in the chicken egg. The biodegradable PMO carrying doxorubicin quickly eliminated the human ovarian tumours without affecting other organs in the chicken embryo. When a smaller amount of the drug, not enveloped in the nanoparticles, was injected in the egg, severe organ damage ensued. This indicates that the team’s nanoparticles prevent anti-cancer drug side effects due to their ability to directly target the tumour.

Fuyuhiko Tamanoi said, “We can start using this model to test for anti-cancer drugs tailored to each cancer patient’s needs. The process can be completed within one week.” This is a major step toward individualized medicine for cancer patients.


More Information: Binh Thanh Vu et al, “ Chick chorioallantoic membrane assay as an in vivo model to study the effect of nanoparticle-based anticancer drugs in ovarian cancer”, Scientific Reports (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-25573-8


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