Researchers of Riga Stradins Clinical University Hospital’s Oncology Institute have begun an ambitious cancer cell research project. They hope to study cancer cells that survive chemo-therapy and search for ways to treat them.
Latvian researchers will study samples taken from breast cancer patients before and after chemo-therapy. They will also test the effect of different substances on particularly resilient cancer cells.
In the future, before scheduling chemo-therapy to cancer patients, laboratory tests will be carried out in order to find the most effective treatment and dosage. People who now the importance of chemo-therapy will understand the importance of preliminary laboratory tests. Liquidation of resilient cancer cells will help reduce the chance of cancer coming back to a minimum. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of ground to cover before personalized cancer treatment can become a reality, as reported by the hospital.
Researchers of RSU Oncology Institute are currently busy creating a system for growing cancer cell samples in a special laboratory in order to acquire enough materials for research. Cultivation of cancer cells is a very delicate and complicated: it is important to maintain a specific temperature range, oxygen supply and other factors. Cultivation of cancer cells also helps researchers to record changes and reactions of cancer cells to different substances. Breast cancer stands out with cell variety, which is a real challenge for researchers.
The advantage of the launched research is that it includes scientific and clinical aspects. Work is being done with samples provided by patients. This allows researchers to study cell behaviour in laboratory conditions and in the human body.
RSU has established a modern laboratory for studying cancer cells. The time when scientists would spend hours at a microscope is slowly being left in the past in favour of more modern observation and research methods. A special cell observation and visualization machine saves time and eye strain for researchers by providing digital images and detailed analysis results based on the researcher’s request. This yields larger volumes of data than manual processing.
This research project is headed by young scientist, Doctor of biology Inese Čakstiņa, who had once been provided with L`Oréal scholarship ‘Woman in science’. The initially minor project has become a major long-term research project, as reported by RSU.
Čakstiņa is confident about the capabilities of Latvia’s scientists: «Cancer cell research is carried out in other countries as well. Latvia’s science has a major intellectual potential to contribute to this research. Right now science has an especially popular practical approach with immediate application and saleable results. Nevertheless, especially in cancer cell research, it is first necessary to find answers to fundamental questions.»