Shifting paradigms: human tissue models in the lab to explore new protein therapies

Wednesday 29 March 2023, 2:30 pm
V. Palacio-Castaneda
Prof. Dr. Roland Brock
Dr. Wouter Verdurmen

Traditional 2D in vitro and animal models are known to translate poorly the results from pre-clinical studies into the clinic, making the discovery and development of new therapies a very slow and expensive process. New models, such as organs-on-chips, can provide more accurate results of human conditions. In this thesis, human tissue models were used to investigate how novel protein therapies reach, and specifically kill, tumor cells in complex environments. The results were combined with a mathematical model to predict the best dose for the therapies to kill tumor cells without affecting other healthy cells in the tissue. Low oxygen levels were also included in the system to better mimic the environment of large solid tumors. Through an improved understanding of the journey of therapeutic proteins in these complex models, better therapies can be developed, ultimately achieving a faster and more effective translation to the patients.

Valentina (1991) finished her Master's degree in Molecular Mechanisms of Disease at Radboud University in 2018 after completing two internships developing 3D tissue models. In 2018 she started her PhD as part of the Biochemistry Department of Radboudumc.  She is currently an ambassador of the organ-on-chip for the young TPI (Transition Programme for Innovation without the use of animals).