Cristina Degrassi, CEO of MTTLab, tells us about her experience with React4life which led to the publication of the paper on Altex: “3D fluid-dynamic ovarian cancer model resembling systemic drug administration for efficacy assay“.

The ability to control drugs quickly and efficiently with a more accurate preclinical tumor model is of great importance in drug development, as the tests used still have severe problems and poor predictivity.

Considering the limitations of animal experiments to predict human response and the high need for new drugs, it is necessary to include highly reproducible human systemic tumor models in preclinical analyzes to validate more stock of candidate drugs.

Starting from this principle, the React4life team used MIVO® to validate an ovarian cancer model, cultivating it inside the fluid dynamic device capable of mimicking the dynamics of the capillary flow that feeds the tumor. The result was published in August in the Altex journal demonstrating that the dynamic in-vivo-like environment provided by the MIVO® device allows to better model the 3D tumor environment and predict drug efficacy in vivo compared to a static model in-vitro.

A great success and milestone for React4life, achieved thanks to the collaboration of a competent team and excellent teamwork which also included Cristina Degrassi, CEO and R&D General Manager from MttLab Srl, who in this short interview tells us how a project is born and how to get to its publication.

  • On 3 August 2020, the scientific journal Altex published the article “3D model of fluid dynamic ovarian cancer similar to systemic administration of drugs for the efficacy assay” of which you participated together with Martin Mojzisek for MTT Lab. was the project that led to this collaboration born?

I met Silvia Scaglione and Maurizio Aiello a few years ago, and I immediately believed in the possibility of using their bioreactor. We spent an afternoon in my office trying to figure out how your MIVO® device should help reduce animal use in the preclinical field, while trying to reduce research time and costs.

  • What role did he play in the experiment and what is his relationship with React4life?

I have planned the in vivo experiments in the article. Together with Silvia Scaglione we discussed and compared the data that we then included in the article. The collaboration will not stop there, on the contrary there are other ideas that we want to develop together.

  • SKOV-3 cell-seeded 3D hydrogels were used as ovarian tumor models and cultured inside the fluid dynamic device (MIVO®) capable of mimicking the dynamics of the capillary flow that feeds the tumor and the spread of drug administered in vivo systemically. Had you ever used a fluid dynamic bioreactor in a scientific experiment?

Not yet, but we will do it shortly as part of a new project that is starting these days.

  • What do you think of MIVO®?

I find it a device that allows it to be used in many fields, very versatile.

  • The result of this experiment demonstrated that it is possible to use tumor models grown under fluid dynamic conditions within MIVO® and to obtain an output of the efficacy test of anticancer drugs in just 7 days, compared to 21 days of the model in I live. How do you comment on this milestone?

I’m thrilled, the classic 2D in vitro models used for initial drug screening were often poorly predictive. We now have the opportunity to test the efficacy in-vitro on these models and reduce the number of animals used in in-vivo tests.

  • 3D tumor models grown in in vivo fluid dynamics conditions such as the MIVO® system, how can they modify preclinical experimentation in pharmaceuticals?

We can reduce the time and costs for the screening of new compounds, reduce the number of animals used in in vivo tests. We need to collect data and of course there is always an initial mistrust to overcome, changes often destabilize. It’s just a matter of time.

  • In which sector / field of research or experiment would you use MIVO®?

My area is the preclinical development of the drug, so surely is my intention using it in this sense. I do not exclude the idea of ​​testing the MIVO® also in other areas, for example in the veterinary field.