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Alternative methods

13 - 05 - 2019

Improving in vitro studies of cancer cells

Currently most of the potential anticancer substances are selected using cancer cells in vitro before being studied in vivo in mouse models of these same cancers. And sometimes the in vivo test results do not match the in vitro ones.


Differences in nutrients in which cells are cultured in vitro or that develop spontaneously in vivo can be the cause.


Researchers have studied in detail the microenvironment in which cancer cells in mice bathe and feed from. They measured concentrations of more than 100 substances in this microenvironment. They also studied variations related to the type of tumor (lung cancer or pancreatic cancer), the anatomical location of the tumors and the food given to of the animals.




They found significant differences between in vivo microenvironments and culture media used in the laboratory, which creates a risk of inaccurate results in vitro. 


These researchers are now trying to develop a culture medium that is much closer to the interstitial environment in which tumors naturally abide so that in vitro studies can better reproduce what happens in vivo in an organism.