Bisacridines, active anticancer compounds in 3D cell cultures | Gdańsk University of Technology

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Date added: 2024-02-06

Bisacridines, active anticancer compounds in 3D cell cultures

Jolanta Kulesza
Jolanta Kulesza, a graduate of the Doctoral School at Gdańsk University of Technology, used spheroids, i.e. 3D cell cultures, in her doctoral thesis to evaluate anticancer compounds in conditions similar to those found in cancer tumors.

Doctoral dissertation entitled "Comparison of 2D and 3D culture models in the study of the biological response induced by unsymmetrical bisacridines in cancer cells" was written under the supervision of Prof. Ewa Augustin from the Department of Drug Technology and Biochemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry.

– As part of my doctoral thesis, I conducted research on the performance mechanism of new, highly active anticancer compounds - asymmetric bisacridines, which were synthesized and patented by the Team of Chemistry and Biochemistry of Anticancer Compounds, at the Department of Drug Technology and Biochemistry – explains Jolanta Kulesza. –During my research, for the first time in our team, I used 3D cell cultures, the so-called spheroids, which are an experimental model allowing the assessment of the activity of anticancer compounds in conditions similar to those prevailing in a cancerous tumor. Compared to traditional 2D single-layer cultures, where cells grow flat and glued to the bottom of the vessel, the three-dimensional structure of spheroids and the gradients of pH, oxygen, nutrients and metabolites occurring in them make this model better reflect the conditions prevailing in cancer tumors in vivo.

Using spheroids in her research, the PhD student conducted extensive research on the cellular response induced by asymmetric bisacridine derivatives in lung cancer and colon cancer cells cultured in 3D conditions, as well as, for comparison, in 2D conditions. Additionally, she performed a preliminary analysis of the impact of the tested compounds on a population of cells with characteristics of cancer stem cells, which are considered responsible for resistance to anticancer therapy, cancer progression, metastasis and disease recurrence, and therefore constitute a promising target in cancer treatment.

Jolanta Kulesza became interested in cancer and its treatment while studying engineering. Her engineering thesis concerned pancreatic cancer. Then, continuing her interest in this field, she conducted a series of experiments, based on which she wrote her master's thesis entitled "Cellular response induced by a 9-amino-1-nitroacridine derivative, C-1748, in human colon and lung cancer cells."

– I believe that the doctorate has significantly contributed to the development of my independence and ability to plan and manage my time. Apart from the obvious advantages, such as gaining in-depth knowledge in my field, doctoral studies also developed my research competences, data analysis skills and writing scientific papers. When it comes to the disadvantages of a PhD, the biggest challenge for me was the high level of stress and nerves associated with both the PhD studies themselves and the process of publishing the results. However, despite these difficulties and numerous moments of doubt, I do not regret my decision - emphasizes the researcher.