BRISBANE, Australia, April 28 (UPI) -- Australian scientists say they are studying the spread of prostate cancer to the bones using a three-dimensional model of tissue-engineered bone.
Shirly Sieh, a doctoral student at the Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation said she is studying the way cancer cells escape from the prostate through the bloodstream to form tumor colonies, most often in the spine and long bones.
"It is an innovative study which uses a tissue engineering platform technology developed by IHBI's Professor Dietmar Hutmacher in order to investigate the interaction between bones and cancer cells," Sieh said. "Tissue-engineered bone provides the 3D architecture for the cancer cells (that) more closely resemble bone metastasis instead of growing the cancer cells and bone cells on a flat Petrie dish."
She said it is still not clear how bones and cancer cells interact, so she is growing prostate cancer cells on the tissue-engineered bone to observe those interactions.
Sieh said scientists want to understand why prostate cancer cells are attracted to bone sites. She and doctoral student Amy Lubik, who is supervised by Professor Colleen Nelson, are also studying the effect the cancer cells in the bones have on male hormone production, particularly on the hormone androgen.