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Trends Biotechnol. 2013 Jun;31(6):347-54. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2013.03.006. Epub 2013 Apr 16.

Technologies for deriving primary tumor cells for use in personalized cancer therapy.

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Department of Pediatrics, Unit 853, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holocombe Blvd, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


For decades, immortal cancer cell lines have constituted an accessible, easily usable set of biological models to investigate cancer biology and explore the potential efficacy of anticancer drugs. However, numerous studies have suggested that these cell lines poorly represent the diversity, heterogeneity, and drug-resistant tumors occurring in patients. The derivation and short-term culture of primary cells from solid tumors have thus gained significant importance in personalized cancer therapy. This review focuses on our current understanding and the pros and cons of different methods for primary tumor cell culture. Furthermore, various culture matrices such as biomimetic scaffolds and chemically defined media supplemented with essential nutrients, have been prepared for different tissues. These well-characterized primary tumor cells redefine cancer therapies with high translational relevance.

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