Pelotonia riders fueling research at The James Cancer Hospital

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It's all about one goal for the thousands of cyclists and virtual riders each year who take part in Pelotonia: End Cancer.

Those cyclists and their donors fuel the work underway in the many labs at The James Cancer Hospital Biomedical Research Tower at Ohio State. Among the projects is one led by Dr. Jonathan Song, using 3-D technology to make these microsystems that are disease models of tumors. It’s a Pelotonia-funded study combining principles of engineering with physical science, “Basically we build a tumor from the bottom up and we focus on certain components that we feel are especially destructive to the growth of tumors."

The three dimensional model of a tumor microenvironment reveals how to study the progression of cancer. One researcher, Alex Avendano, who is a third year graduate student said, “It's not just the cancer cells but it's kind of like they exist in a community. Cancer kind of needs its friends to take over the body and start growing."

These engineers say the 3-D model makes it easier to monitor how tumors react and become abnormal and also allows them to test certain targeted therapies.