Extracellular matrix in solid tumors: an innovative 3D system for pharmacological personalized medicine.
During cancer progression, the surrounding microenvironment co-evolves into an activated state through continuous paracrine communication, creating a dynamic signaling circuitry that promotes cancer initiation and growth. Long viewed as a stable structure that plays mainly a supportive role in maintaining tissue morphology, the extracellular matrix (ECM) is an essential part of tumour microenvironment that is surprisingly dynamic and versatile. The novelty of this project lies in applying the decellularization process, often used in regenerative medicine field, in order to study the biophysical and biochemical properties of tumour ECM, and to generate an acellular patient-derived scaffold able to fully mimic the in vivo characteristics of tumour microenvironment. Translational research approaches in the field of oncology often suffer of two major limitations: a paucity of biological material available and the need for limiting the invasiveness of therapeutic approaches. To overcome these constraints, we initially thought to develop the decellularization method in Colorectal cancer (CRC). In this manner, we have the chance to access a fair amount of biological material without adversely affect the patient's therapeutic process
Dr. Marco Agostini is Researcher at the First Surgical Clinic of Department of Surgery, Oncology and Gastroenterology (University of Padova). In parallel, since 2014 he is the responsible of molecular diagnosis activity for the Center for the Prevention of Hereditary Colorectal Tumors (UNIPD and Padova University Hospital). Since 2012 he is the head of NanoInspired biomedicine lab at Fondazione Istituto di Ricerca Pediatrica Città della Speranza. Dr. Agostini is a well-established scientist in the field of colon and rectal cancer, focusing on the study of the genetics and molecular biology of the cancerous tissues. In addition, he acquired a strong expertise in the development of 3D model to mimic the in vitro the in vivo environment for drug treatment response prediction.
Dr. Edoardo D’Angelo is a junior post-doc at the First Surgical Clinic of Department of Surgery, Oncology and Gastroenterology (University of Padova). He obtained a master’s degree in Medical biotechnology, followed by a PhD in Immunology and clinical and experimental oncology. His main expertise concerns all the technological applications of molecular biology and cell biology applied to: a) pre-clinical biomarkers discovery (tissue and circulating DNA, RNA and miRNA); b) study of the molecular mechanism associated to a multi-drug resistance phenomena; c) decellularization of tissue, with a particular expertise in gastrointestinal tissues (colon, rectum, liver and pancreas); d) primary tumor cell isolation for organoid generation; and e) in vivo and in vitro evaluation of cytotoxicity and drug screening test.