Olympus and Fukushima Medical University Collaborate on a New Method for Evaluating Anticancer Drugs with 3D Analysis

January 24, 2020

Olympus and the Fukushima Medical University have begun the second phase of a joint research project to establish a method for evaluating the efficacy of anticancer drugs using three-dimensional analysis. In this study, Olympus' imaging and three-dimensional cell analysis technology are utilized to study the mechanisms of anticancer drugs. The research evaluates the efficacy of drugs in organoids1 derived from lung cancer patients with various genetic mutations.

Genetic research is a critical part of cancer medicine, and hundreds of genes have been found that relate to the pathogenesis and progression of cancer. How these genes are expressed varies among individuals. Consequently, it is increasingly important to choose the therapeutic agent based on the genetic profile rather than using a general-purpose drug.

During phase one, we used patient-derived cancer organoids and gene mutation information to quantitatively assess immune cells attacking cancer cells using a molecular-targeted drug2. In the second phase, we are using Olympus NoviSight™ 3D cell analysis software3 to assess the impacts of anticancer drugs on organoids with various gene mutations. Specifically, NoviSight software can quantitatively assess changes in cell viability as well as a drug’s impact on morphology by observing and analyzing the organoids. The software will help us understand the relationship between oncogenes and anticancer drugs, which will enable us to develop a method for evaluating the efficacy of anticancer drugs.

In the future, we hope this research will contribute to treatment plans for individual patients based on their genetic variations and improve the drug discovery process by establishing imaging and analysis techniques for 3D cell models. These models will provide information that can assist in the development of new drugs.

1 A tissue-like in vitro structure where multiple cells are condensed into masses.

2 A type of anticancer drug that inhibits the division and proliferation of cancer cells by targeting molecules and genes specifically expressed in cancer cells.

3 Only available in the United States. Information such as changes in cell viability and impacts on morphology induced by drugs can be quantitatively assessed. (https://www.olympus.co.jp/news/2018/nr00893.html)

About Fukushima Medical University

Fukushima Medical University was established for the purpose of educating and fostering medical education of people who contribute to the health, medical care and welfare of people in Fukushima Prefecture. At the same time, as a research institute, it has an important mission of asking the world about the results of constant research.

After the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear power plant accident in 2011, the government quickly supported the resurgence of Fukushima from the perspective of medical care and health, and it has accelerated its activities in cooperation with medical institutions and research institutions around the world. As part of its activities, we established the Industry for Medical-Industrial Translational Research in 2012. By bridging the medical community and industry, we provide multifaceted support for the development of new drugs, diagnostic reagents and test reagents for cancer-based diseases.

Through these efforts, we are contributing to the creation, clustering and employment of pharmaceutical-related industries in Fukushima Prefecture, as well as contributing to the improvement of the quality of cancer treatment and diagnosis within Fukushima Prefecture to maintain and improve the health of the prefectural population.

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