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Co-culture of human tumor cells with zebrafish blastoderm cells: study of the tumor microenvironment

Grant number: 22/02682-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2022
Effective date (End): March 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Immunology - Cellular Immunology
Principal Investigator:Juliana Moreira Mendonça Gomes
Grantee:Mariana Tominaga Pereira
Host Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/05264-7 - Cell metabolism, microbiota and immune system: new paradigms in renal diseases physiopathology, AP.TEM


Cancer is one of the main public health problems worldwide. In particular, breast cancer has a high incidence and high mortality rate among women. The low selectivity of treatments and non-individualized treatments cause several adverse events and are of low importance for some patients. In this way, it becomes necessary to study the specificity and the efficiency of drugs for this disease. An individualized approach is effective in precision oncology, where the analysis of specific clinics, genetics, and molecular factors allows a preventive treatment that is more suitable for each patient, increasing the effectiveness of individual treatment. Considering this, zebrafish (Danio rerio) was highlighted as a study model about tumors due to mimicking the pathophysiology of various tumors, including breast cancer. Furthermore, the genomes of zebrafish and humans are highly conserved, especially in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Other characteristics, such as ease and speed in acquiring results, make the zebrafish an ideal model for tumor cell transplantation in studies in the field of precision oncology. In this project, we aim to establish a 3D co-culture between the blastoderm of the zebrafish embryo and the MDA-MB-231 triple-negative breast cancer cells. In addition, we expect to eliminate the immunosuppression of transplanted organisms, 3D cultures would mimic the human organism and benefit the xenotransplantation and the tumor microenvironment, making it possible to evaluate the tumor progression, animal survival, the tumor microenvironment, mitochondrial morphology, and metabolism of tumor cells.(AU)

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