Nav: Home

Using 3D models to reduce side effects of radiotherapy

March 14, 2019

The debilitating side effects of radiotherapy could soon be a thing of the past thanks to a breakthrough by University of South Australia (UniSA) and Harvard University researchers.

UniSA biomedical engineer Professor Benjamin Thierry is leading an international study using organ-on-a-chip technology to develop 3D models to test the effects of different levels and types of radiation.

A microfluidic cell culture chip closely mimics the structure and function of small blood vessels within a disposable device the size of a glass slide, allowing researchers and clinicians to investigate the impact of radiotherapy on the body's tissues.

To date, scientists have relied on testing radiotherapy on cells in a two-dimensional environment on a slide.

Professor Thierry, from UniSA's Future Industries Institute (FII) and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology (CBNS), says the organ-on-a-chip technology could reduce the need for animal studies and irrelevant invitro work, both of which have major limitations.

"An important finding of the study is that endothelial cells grown in the standard 2D culture are significantly more radiosensitive than cells in the 3D vascular network. This is significant because we need to balance the effect of radiation on tumour tissues while preserving healthy ones," Prof Thierry says.

The findings, published in Advanced Materials Technologies, will allow researchers to fully investigate how radiation impacts on blood vessels and - soon - all other sensitive organs.

"The human microvasculature (blood vessel systems within organs) is particularly sensitive to radiotherapy and the model used in this study could potentially lead to more effective therapies with fewer side effects for cancer patients," Prof Thierry says.

More than half of all cancer patients receive radiotherapy at least once in the course of their treatment. While it cures many cancers, the side effects can be brutal and sometimes lead to acute organ failure and long-term cardiovascular disease.

Prof Thierry's team, including UniSA FII colleague Dr Chih-Tsung Yang and PhD student Zhaobin Guo, are working in close collaboration with the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Harvard University's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute with the support of the Australian National Fabrication Facility.

"Better understanding the effect of radiotherapy on blood vessels within organs - and more generally on healthy tissues - is important, especially where extremely high doses and types of radiation are used," Dr Yang says.

The researchers' next step is to develop body-on-chip models that mimic the key organs relevant to a specific cancer type.
-end-
Media contact: Professor Benjamin Thierry +618 8302 3689 mobile: +61 411 837 941 email: benjamin.thierry@unisa.edu.au; Candy Gibson UniSA media office +618 8302 0961 mobile: +61 434 605 142 email: candy.gibson@unisa.edu.au

University of South Australia

Related Blood Vessels Articles:

Study: Use of prefabricated blood vessels may revolutionize root canals
Researchers at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, have developed a process by which they can engineer new blood vessels in teeth, creating better long-term outcomes for root canal patients and clinicians.
New findings on formation and malformation of blood vessels
In diseases like cancer, diabetes, rheumatism and stroke, a disorder develops in the blood vessels that exacerbates the condition and obstructs treatment.
Targeting blood vessels to improve cancer immunotherapy
EPFL scientists have improved the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy by blocking two proteins that regulate the growth of tumor blood vessels.
Reprogrammed blood vessels promote cancer spread
Tumor cells use the bloodstream to spread in the body.
Neurons modulate the growth of blood vessels
A team of researchers at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology shake at the foundations of a dogma of cell biology.
Sensor for blood flow discovered in blood vessels
The PIEZO1 cation channel translates mechanical stimulus into a molecular response to control the diameter of blood vessels.
Blood vessels control brain growth
Blood vessels play a vital role in stem cell reproduction, enabling the brain to grow and develop in the womb, reveals new UCL research in mice.
No blood vessels without cloche
After 20 years of searching, scientists discover the mystic gene controlling vessel and blood cell growth in the embryo.
New way of growing blood vessels could boost regenerative medicine
Growing tissues and organs in the lab for transplantation into patients could become easier after scientists discovered an effective way to produce three-dimensional networks of blood vessels, vital for tissue survival yet a current stumbling block in regenerative medicine.
Regenerating blood vessels gets $2.7 million grant
Biomedical engineers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have received $2.7 million in funding to advance a treatment that regenerates blood vessels.

Related Blood Vessels Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Don't Fear Math
Why do many of us hate, even fear math? Why are we convinced we're bad at it? This hour, TED speakers explore the myths we tell ourselves and how changing our approach can unlock the beauty of math. Guests include budgeting specialist Phylecia Jones, mathematician and educator Dan Finkel, math teacher Eddie Woo, educator Masha Gershman, and radio personality and eternal math nerd Adam Spencer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#517 Life in Plastic, Not Fantastic
Our modern lives run on plastic. It's in the computers and phones we use. It's in our clothing, it wraps our food. It surrounds us every day, and when we throw it out, it's devastating for the environment. This week we air a live show we recorded at the 2019 Advancement of Science meeting in Washington, D.C., where Bethany Brookshire sat down with three plastics researchers - Christina Simkanin, Chelsea Rochman, and Jennifer Provencher - and a live audience to discuss plastics in our oceans. Where they are, where they are going, and what they carry with them. Related links:...