New Collaboration between TAP Biosystems and UCL To Develop Biomimetic 3D Cancer Models for use in Drug Discovery

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Cambridge, UK: TAP Biosystems, a leading supplier of innovative cell culture systems and consumables for life science applications, is pleased to announce a new collaboration with researchers at University College London (UCL) in the UK to develop solid tumour tissue models using its RAFT 3D cell culture system for use in drug discovery applications.

The three way collaboration, between TAP Biosystems and researchers on two UCL sites at the Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, will focus on developing technology to generate advanced 3D cancer tissue models for use in research and drug discovery. Their aim is to use TAP’s RAFT™ (Real Architecture for 3D Tissue™) technology to reproduce solid tumour micro architecture, by seeding co-cultures of cancer cells, fibroblasts and endothelial cells into a collagen gel. With the correct conditions, fibroblasts aggregate around the cancer cells to form connective tissue, and the endothelial cells fuse to form, producing angiogenic growth and rudimentary vasculature, so that the final co-culture has many of the features and behaviour of a solid tumour.

Dr Marilena Loizidou, Senior Lecturer, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science at UCL explained:”Our ultimate aim is to engineer reproducible 3D tissues to test the efficacy of compounds and biologics to treat solid tumours in diseases such as breast, bowel and bladder cancer. By engineering these types of tissues, we’ll have a far reaching impact on translational research, as we could more readily tease out the mechanisms of why drugs do or don’t act effectively on tumours.”

Dr Umber Cheema, Research Fellow at the Division of Surgery and Interventional Science at UCL added: “When making 3D cancer tissues it is very difficult to do this in a controlled, reproducible way, and we need help making the tissue formation process consistent for pharma and biotech use. TAP Biosystems is a company that has a proven background, as well as a progressive vision. We believe utilising the RAFT platform is the best way to make our science relevant and are very pleased to be partnering with TAP on this project.”

Dr Rosemary Drake, CSO at TAP Biosystems said: “We are delighted to be extending our collaborative partnerships at UCL to include a new application of the RAFT process.

We look forward to working together with Dr Marilena Loizidou and Dr Umber Cheema’s teams of experts to develop novel 3D human tumour models that reproduce the cells’ in vivo environment. Using this approach to create more realistic and complex models, should mean that data are more robust and relevant and drug screening becomes more efficient. This could result in significant cost savings, and, more importantly, may contribute to reducing the amount of pre-clinical animal studies required for testing new oncology therapies.”

About TAP Biosystems

TAP Biosystems (the new corporate identity of The Automation Partnership) provides innovative automation systems and consumables to improve productivity in life science research, development and production.

For over 20 years TAP Biosystems has been the leader in the design and development of automated cell culture and processing systems with applications in bioprocessing,   drug discovery and regenerative medicine.  Systems include ambr, CompacT SelecT, Fill-It and RAFT.

TAP Biosystems is a privately-owned company with headquarters near Cambridge, UK and a sales and support facility near Wilmington, Delaware, USA.www.tapbiosystems.com

About UCL Enterprise

UCL Enterprise provides UCL’s structures for engaging with business for commercial and societal benefit. In includes three units: UCL Advances, UCL Business and UCL Consultants. Together, they provide access to the capabilities and resources of the UCL community to help businesses start, grow and develop.

About UCL (University College London)

Described by The Sunday Times as 'an intellectual powerhouse with a world-class reputation', UCL is consistently ranked as one of the top three multi-faculty universities in the UK and features in the top universities worldwide.

UCL is a founding partner of the largest European Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, The Francis Crick Institute, due to open in 2015. Its annual income is over £700 million. www.ucl.ac.uk

For Further Information Contact:

Matthew Walker, Head of Communications, TAP Biosystems, York Way, Royston, Hertfordshire, SG8 5WY, UK.  Tel: +44 (0) 1763 227200
Fax:+44 (0) 1763-227201Email: matthew.walker@tapbiosystems.com Web: www.tapbiosystems.com

Editor Contacts:

Dr Sue Pearson, Director, International Science Writer, PO Box 170, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 3GD, UK.
Tel/Fax: + 44 (0) 1462-635327Email: sue.pearson@internationalsciencewriter.com Web: www.internationalsciencewriter.com Twitter: @isciencewriter
 
Henry Rummins, UCL Media Relations Office, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK.
Tel: +44 (0)207 679 9063, mobile: +44 (0)757 260 2345E-mail: h.rummins@ucl.ac.uk Web: www.ucl.ac.uk


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