BACKGROUND: Metastatic prostate cancer (PCa) preferentially spreads to the bone. Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is the mainstay first-line treatment following biochemical recurrence. However, with time PCa appears to evolve within the bone marrow into a phenotype no longer responsive to ADT, resulting in castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Effective treatment of CRPC remains particularly challenging, with a median patient survival time of only 14 months. A major bottleneck in understanding this evolutionary process, and the development of more effective treatments, is the current deficit of reliable in vitro and in vivo tools.

Our team is focused on developing improved in vitro and in vivo tools. We have published on a few of our recent developments, and hope to share more soon.  For in vitro tools, please see here and here.  We would be pleased to share these new cell culture technologies, and look forward to working with you.

The Microwell-mesh: Our leading technology for prostate cancer research is the Microwell-mesh (see Figure 1 and 2 below). This device enables the manufacture of hundreds of uniform cancer spheroids in microwells, and their retention in discrete microwells by a nylon mesh.  This design facilities robust, high-throughput drug testing. Figure 2 provides an animation of how single cell suspensions are loaded into the Microwell-mesh, and how the self-assembled spheroids are retained in discrete microwells by the nylon mesh.

Figure 1.  (A) Cells are pelleted uniformly into microwells via forced aggregation (centrifuging the culture plate). (B) Cells self-assemble into multicellular spheroids or microtissues.  (C) The nylon mesh retains individual cell spheroids in discrete microwells.

 

Figure 2.  Animation of how the Microwell-mesh functions.  Please contact us if you are interested in this technology.

 

Team: We have a number of on-going projects that overlap with our prostate cancer research.  Our team includes A/Prof Mike Doran (TRI/QUT), Dr Ian Vela (PAH/QUT), Dr Pamela Robey (NIH), Prof Mara Riminucci (Sapienza University of Rome), Dr Kathryn Futrega (QUT), Prof Pamela Russell (QUT/TRI), A/Prof Elizabeth Williams (QUT), Prof Leland Chung (Cedars-Sinai).