In the Conditionally Reprogrammed Cells (CRC) Lab, we utilize the discovery described as “Georgetown method.” This method makes a way to keep normal cells as well as tumor cells taken from an individual cancer patient alive in the laboratory — which previously had not been possible. Normal cells usually die in the lab after dividing only a few times, and many common cancers will not grow, unaltered, outside of the body. While immortalized tumor cell lines did and still do exist, they have changed so much over the decades that they do not resemble natural cancer cells any more. Adding two different substances (a Rho kinase (ROCK) inhibitor and fibroblast feeder cells) to cancer and normal cells in a laboratory pushes them to morph into stem-like cells — adult cells from which other cells are made. In the CRC Lab, we are able to grow normal and tumor cells in vitro, and then test various drugs or combinations on them to see which works best, without risking side effects and lost time if the drug does not work. Generated cell lines can also be used for chemosensitivity testing of hundreds of anticancer drugs, single or in combination.

 

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