Utilizing Biopolymers in 3D Tumor Modeling and Tumor Diagnosis
Time: Fri 2023-12-15 13.00
Location: F3 (Flodis), Lindstedtsvägen 26
Subject area: Fibre and Polymer Science
Doctoral student: Negar Abbasi Aval , Fiberteknologi
Opponent: Professor Maria Tenje, Uppsala universitet
Supervisor: Universitetslektor Torbjörn Pettersson, Fiberteknologi, VinnExcellens Centrum BiMaC Innovation; Professor Aman Russom, Nanobioteknologi, Science for Life Laboratory, SciLifeLab, Center for the Advancement of Integrated Medical and Engineering Sciences, AIMES
Cancer represents a significant global public health challenge and ranks as the second mostcommon cause of death in the United States. The onset of cancer entails an initial phasewhere cells lose their polarity and disconnect from the normal basement membrane, allowingthem to form distinct three-dimensional (3D) configurations that interact with adjacent cellsand the surrounding microenvironment. Cells grown in 2D monolayers demonstrate differentgene expression patterns and different activation of signaling pathways compared to cellscultivated within the natural structure of tumor tissue of the same cell type. Multicellulartumor spheroids (MCTS) are extensively investigated as a well-studied model of organotypiccancer. These spheroids are formed by tumor cells, either alone or in combination with othercell types, and they can be created with or without the application of supportive scaffolds.The MCTSs are also considered promising models for preclinical assessments of chemosensitivity.However, the creation of these tumor spheroids presents challenges, as not alltumor cell lines can consistently form regular spheroids.Cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) have become essential as a sustainable and environmentallyfriendly material. For example, thin films, with inherent mechanical properties, and flexibility,offer versatility across various applications. Also known for its biocompatibility and non-toxicnature, native CNF is a natural option to use. Its fibrous structure closely mimics the collagenmatrix in human tissue, showing potential as an effective scaffold for 3D cell culture. In thisregard, an innovative Layer-by-Layer (LbL) coating technique using CNF-polyelectrolytebilayers was investigated to generate spheroids. This method constructs bilayers of CNFand polyelectrolytes and can coat various surfaces. In this thesis, the first focus was ondemonstrating the spheroid formation capability using low molecular weight polyelectrolytesin LbL assembly. Secondly, an investigation was conducted involving embedding of LbLgrownspheroids in a decellularized extracellular matrix (ECM) aiming to determine howECM, possessing suitable mechanical characteristics, could influence the cancer stem celltraits in spheroids. Thirdly, the thesis demonstrated the utilization of LbL for capturing andreleasing of circulating tumor cells. Lastly, the shift from using low molecular weightpolyelectrolytes in the LbL assembly to high molecular weight counterparts and analyzingthe differences in spheroid formation abilities to assess the underlying differences inmolecular weights of the polyelectrolytes was explored. All-in-all, employing the CNF-basedLbL surface coating strategy explored in the thesis has proven to be promising for thedevelopment of spheroid models closely resembling in vivo conditions and holds significantpotential for applications in drug development.