In recent years, the importance of the immediate biological environment of a malignant tumor has become increasingly apparent in tumor research. This tumor environment, also known as a tumor metromilieu, affects not only the development of the tumor (carcinogenesis), but also the behavior of immune cells against the malignant tumor cells.
These effects have not been or have not been adequately considered in previous preclinical models for the development and testing of antitumoral substances. Our working group is concerned with the development of preclinical models which are designed to represent the tumor and its environment as precisely as possible. For this purpose, the principle of 3D cell culture is applied using the "hanging-drop" method. In this project it is attempted to cultivate so-called micro-tissues, which consist of cells of a tumor cell line (for example, lung carcinoma) and cells of the tumor metromelie (fibroblasts, endothelial cells, immune cells) and to determine their usefulness for the testing of antitumoral substances. The aim of another project of our group is to obtain tissue material from cancer patients and to process it so that it can be used in the 3D cell culture for the generation of microtissues. Subsequently, assays are then to be developed in order to predict which medications the cancer cells of the patient are responding to. A third project deals with the development of an "immunoscores" for the non-small-cell lung carcinoma.
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