Pancreatic cancer has one of the worst survival rates among most cancers. Sufferers can expect as little as a 9% chance to survive for a monimum of five years after being diagnosed.
Going back in time to note how cells with vital gene mutations work together and become invasive would help researchers learn how cancer starts and identify it sooner.
Pancreatic cancer “time machine” built by Purdue University researchers has unveiled that the illness is even more unpredictable than previously considered: Most cancer cells promote each other’s invasiveness when they grow collectively.
The research, revealed in the journal Small, is just the start of a new discovery about how pancreatic cancer evolves. Since the paper’s publication, the researchers have discovered drug resistance in cancer cell types originating from two drug-delicate ones.
The time machine is a hollow vessel of collagen that realistically simulates the microanatomy of a pancreatic duct. By injecting cancer cell lines into microfluidic channels inside the artificial duct, the researchers can use the system as a sample for observing how pancreatic cancer behaves over time.
Sometimes, it takes 10-20 years for pancreatic cancer to grow in a patient. Even in an animal model, the process is several months long. This pancreatic tumor model condenses cancer development to two weeks.
The tumor model accelerates time as researchers can load in cell lines from an animal model or patient without waiting for gene mutation to occur first.
The life-like construction of the tumor model permits the researchers to reconstruct the mutation as it will occur in the body.
To return in time, the researchers rewind footage taken by imaging tools from the facet of the artificial duct.