Development of tumor growth and initiation of metastasis depend upon reciprocal interactions among all the heterogeneous cell populations comprising the tumor microenvironment, including cancer, immune, and cancer-associated stromal cells. To better understand these interactions and thus develop more effective cancer therapies, improved cancer models are needed. Dr. Chung’s objective is to further develop and optimize a novel method in which the various cell populations of the patient-specific breast tumor microenvironment can be expanded and reconstructed ex vivo as a functional three-dimensional (3D) organoid that recapitulates the tumor tissue in vivo. In addition, Dr. Chung is also performing genomic profiling of cancer cells and cancer-associated stroma (CAS) to identify differential gene expression patterns in these reconstructed co-cultured cancer cell/stromal cell 3D organoids, as well as the influence of genetic heterogeneity on propagation of these cells for generation of 3D organoids.
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