Department of Cell Culture Technology
This Department was founded in 2014 for developing better methods to amplify cancer cells as well as normal counterparts derived from clinical specimens obtained by operation, biopsy and therapy. There are mainly two approaches to amplify cancer cells from patients, in vitro cell culture and patient-derived xenograft (PDX). Since HeLa cell line, the first human cancer cell line, was established in 1951, many human cancer cell lines have been established and used for cancer research. However, many cancer cell lines and/or PDX lines derived from Asian patients and rare cancers need to be established. Patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) generated from fresh tumor specimens generally reflect histopathology, tumor behavior, and the metastatic properties of the original tumor. Cell line-derived xenograft (CDX) models are superior in reproducibility. These models are considered to be important preclinical tools in recent years. We are preparing for the system that stores valuable cancer specimens so that cancer tissues or cancer cells can be transplanted into immune-deficient mice or cultivated in vitro. Recently a culture condition with feeder layer cells and the ROCK inhibitor, Y-27632, has been developed for infinite proliferation of several epithelial cell types. Based on the improved method developed by Division of Carcinogenesis and Cancer Prevention, we now can cultivate so far difficult-to-cultivate primary human cells, such as hepatocytes, pancreatic duct cells, gastric epithelial cells and colon epithelial cells without feeder cells. These cell types have been immortalized by transduction of CDK4, cyclin D1 and TERT so as to be cultivated in more general culture conditions. Our goal is to establish the cell culture method that can easily amplify every cell type including normal, pre-neoplastic and cancer cells. These include organoid culture as well as conventional two-dimensional culture.