Drug Screen in 3-D Cell Culture Identifies Promising Lead Against Bladder Cancer Subtype

Increasingly, scientists like those at the Rogel Cancer Center are using 3-D cell cultures to more closely model cancer cells in the body.

10:38 AM

Author | Ian Demsky

image of a bladder scan
Bladder cancer. Image courtesy of NIH and Peter Choyke, Molecular Imaging Program.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center have identified a promising targeted therapy against the basal subtype of bladder cancer by screening 3-D cell cultures.

MEK inhibitors showed the strongest response against the basal molecular subtype, the research group reported in Oncotarget.

"It's becoming more and more clear that culturing cells in a medium that allows them to grow in three dimensions more faithfully recreates the way cancer cells grow and respond inside a human body," says study lead author Nathan Merrill, Ph.D. "Screens in 2-D cell cultures can identify false leads and also miss compounds that have a profound responses."

To look for new targeted therapies against bladder cancer, the group screened more than 650 investigational compounds and 17 bladder cancer cell lines.

Along with identifying leads for new therapeutic approaches, the goal of the work was to contribute a large, 3-D screening resource to the field, Merrill adds.

The researchers plan to continue to work to test additional therapeutic options for patients with bladder cancer and to investigate the specific molecular features of the basal subtype to see if the sensitivity to MEK might be applicable to other cancer subtypes.

Paper cited: "MEK is a promising target in the basal subtype of bladder cancer," Oncotarget. DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.27767

More Articles About: Lab Notes Urological Cancer Cancer: Cancer Types
Health Lab word mark overlaying blue cells
Health Lab

Explore a variety of health care news & stories by visiting the Health Lab home page for more articles.

Media Contact Public Relations

Department of Communication at Michigan Medicine

[email protected]


Stay Informed

Want top health & research news weekly? Sign up for Health Lab’s newsletters today!

Featured News & Stories kidney cancer microscopic gene biomarker image with words "lab note" in bottom right in yellow and blue font
Health Lab
Biomarker Could Help Identify Difficult-to-Diagnose Kidney Cancer Subtype
MiTF renal cell carcinoma can masquerade as other subtypes and may not respond as well to front-line therapies.
colorful cells floating pink teal orange and green black vague background
Health Lab
Improving access to HPV testing
A new initiative is aiming to raise awareness and improve accessibility to HPV testing. Diane Harper, M.D., M.P.H. M.S., discusses it and the importance of screening for HPV.
cancer cell blue yellow
Health Lab
Widening inequality seen where cancer clinical trials are available
The availability of clinical trials of new treatments for cancer varies greatly by geography, and a new study shows more socially vulnerable areas have far fewer.
Blue image of a microscopic helix strand
Health Lab
Researchers discover urine based test to detect head and neck cancer
At-home test can detect tumor DNA fragments in urine samples, providing a non-invasive alternative to traditional blood-based biomarker tests
Spilled pills next to a stethoscope and pile of cash
Health Lab
Drug pricing program improved prostate cancer treatment adherence
Socially vulnerable patients were more likely to stick with oral medications when treated at a hospital participating in 340B program, suggesting these hospitals may have more resources to help patients.
Animated microscopic image of the glioblastoma's tumor microenvironment
Health Lab
New model of key brain tumor feature could help scientists understand how to develop new treatments
Model shows how oncostreams form and behave in brain tumors – and how to inhibit them