In the search for advanced cancer treatments and the intense work towards a possible cure for the deadly disease, the study for cancer cells grown in culture dishes is vital, but late research revealed some considerable genetic differences between the lab-grown cells and those that can be found in the human body.
Though that doesn’t mean lab research based on lab-grown cells can’t be relevant, it’s fundamental for scientists to figure out what the differences are as they analyze ways to stop the spread of tumours and their potential of doing severe damage.
Researchers worked on a machine learning model known as CancerCellNet (CCN) to put bodily cancer side to side with cancer from other sources – 26 mice models altered to develop cancer, 415 mice with transplanted human cancer cells (xenografts); 657 traditional cancer cell lines ( cancer cells developed in culture dishes); and 131 balls of 3D tissue grown in a lab to mimic tumours (also known as tumoroids).
By putting the RNA sequences of these cells side to side with a cancer genome database, the biological makeup that dictates how proteins develop, the team worked out how similar the two samples were to in vivo cancers on a genetic level.
Patrick Cahan, a molecular biologist and geneticist from Johns Hopkins University, said:
“It may not be a surprise to scientists that cancer cell lines are genetically inferior to other models, but we were surprised that genetically engineered mice and tumoroids performed so very well by comparison.”
On average, the genetically engineered mice and tumoroids had the closest matches to actual human cancer in roughly 80% of the tumour types analyzed, including breast, lung, and ovarian cancers.