Laura Bahlmann (MASc): Recapitulating lymphoma-microenvironment interactions in vitro

February 14, 2018 @ 9:30 am – 10:00 am
Rosebrugh Building
Rosebrugh Bldg, Toronto, ON M5S 3G9

Room: RS 211


Lymphomas are white blood cell cancers that typically originate in lymph nodes. Together, they are the fifth most common cancer in North America. Although advances in combinational chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant treatments have improved clinical outcome in recent years, there remains a subgroup of patients with relapsed and refractory disease that succumb to their illness. There is a need to improve therapies for these patients. In typical drug screening, cells are plated in 2D and the microenvironment of the native tumour is not taken into account. Commercially available 3D matrix materials are available, but these materials are also not representative of lymphoma tumours and do not enable long term studies. The microenvironment of lymphoma has recently emerged as a biomarker of patient response; therefore, its effects on drug response are of great interest. My project involves the development of a hydrogel scaffold that mimics the lymphoma microenvironment and supports the growth of tumour spheroids. The hydrogel is synthesized from a biocompatible polymer that is present in many tumour microenvironments, and various extracellular matrix proteins relevant to the lymphoma niche can be incorporated into the hydrogel. The system will be used to study the effects of cell-matrix interactions on tumour growth, drug response, and disease progression.