Nanomedicine-based treatments for cancer therapy have been gaining popularity in recent years. However, classic 2D in vitro models have important limitations to replicate in vivo conditions, thus 3D models are emerging as reliable alternatives to better predict therapeutic efficiency. Here, a new 3D model was developed with a co-culture of human breast cancer cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts embedded in their own extracellular matrix to evaluate drug delivery techniques triggered by microenvironment factors. The results showed that there was an overexpression of MMP2 in these microtissues. Furthermore, recently validated MMP2 sensitive nanoparticles were able to release doxorubicin only at specific localisations, demonstrating the selectivity of this treatment and the validity of the model. Additionally, cell viability was only modulated by such drug delivery systems in the 3D setup. Overall, the researchers propose a new platform to explore nanoparticle-based strategies for cancer therapy and demonstrate that only 3D microtissues can faithfully predict in vivo tumour response.
3D tumor microtissues as an in vitro testing platform for microenvironmentally-triggered drug delivery systems
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