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Medical News & Perspectives
October 15, 2003

Studying Cancer in 3 Dimensions

JAMA. 2003;290(15):1977-1979. doi:10.1001/jama.290.15.1977

Like actors assembled to perform a play, hundreds of genes and proteins have been cast in cancer-related roles in the last few decades. But without a script, a narrative of how these characters interact to disrupt normal biological activities and cause a malignancy remains an unfinished story.

For the drama to unfold properly, a stage—a model system—is needed that closely mimics the living environment in which cancer pathogenesis occurs. To this end, some researchers are turning to three-dimensional (3-D) cell culture systems. The reason: limitations of the traditional mainstays of cancer research, cell cultures and animal models.

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