Tumor tissues are characterized by distinct characteristics different
from the original-healthy tissue as result of specific mutations.
Recently scientific advances in cell biology techniques allowed culturing
cells in 3D.
Differently from previous 2D culture, when tumor cells grow in a 3D substrate the experimental model better resemble the real-life characteristics of the tumor.
This advance may sound of limited importance, but allows huge improvements for pre-clinical studies. For example, all the cells growing in the 2D cell culture model receive the same amount of drug administered in the culture dish. This is not what happens in real life as the most external part of the tumor is exposed to the drug, but cells growing deeper in the tumor mass may receive sub optimal amount of it. This is just one of the many improvements that a 3D culture represent for the research of new therapies against cancer.