May 8 – 10, 2018

Boston, MA

Pre Conference Workshop A
Tuesday May 8th, 2018

09.00 - 12.00
Leveraging Clinically Relevant 3D Models That Recapitulate the Tumor Microenvironment

The tumor microenvironment (TME) is a complex system comprising a multitude of cellular components such as tumor cells, endothelial cells, fibroblasts, immune cells, and stellate cells, as well as a complex extracellular matrix (ECM) whose precise interactions are essential for the growth of primary tumors and subsequent metastasis. Targeting essential molecular drivers within these cellular components including those of the cancer cells pose potential targets for therapeutic intervention. Identifying these targets is dependent on our ability to develop pre-clinical models that recapitulate the tumor microenvironment and whose molecular signature is highly correlated with that of the original tumor.

Traditional in-vitro 2D preclinical models do not accurately predict efficacy or safety of anticancer therapies in humans. New in-vitro preclinical 3D models including spheroids, organoids, Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) models, and novel ex vivo systems, all of which have promise are being developed to address the deficiencies in traditional 2D models.

This workshop focuses on 3D systems, including spheroids, organotypic tumor models, novel ex vivo systems, and patient derived xenografts to study characteristics of the TME, and how these 3D systems can be leveraged for the drug discovery and evaluation process. Attendees will be provided with a robust primer on the systems in use which will enhance the value of the main meeting.

Join this session to leave having:

  • Identified the role played by the microenvironment in modulating drug responses
  • Evaluated potential therapeutic targets within the tumor microenvironment
  • Assessed state-of-the-art in vitro tumor models
  • Identified the outstanding questions in the field

SilhouetteDan Gioeli
Associate Professor, Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology
University of Virginia


geoff barthGeoffrey Bartholomeusz
Associate Professor & Director, Target Identification and Validation Program
M.D.Anderson Cancer Center

Pre Conference Workshop B
Tuesday May 8th, 2018

13.00 - 16.00
Showcasing the Advanced Technological Development of 3D Tissue Culture Models using Automated Platforms

Given their ability to add human relevance earlier into the pipeline and increase physiological representation of the in vivo environment, 3D models hold a lot of promise for bridging the translational gap.

This increasing interest in studying the interactions between cells and the extracellular matrix (ECM) has created a need for high throughput and low cost 3D culture systems. However, whilst 3D tissue cultures gain acceptance and become more and more prevalent in drug screening, there is an ever growing need to overcome key challenges associated with scaling and automation of these cultures.

Whilst, spheroids and organoids have presented a simple model system, manipulations of these cultures are laborious and challenges are amplified as sample throughput increases. This session will explore current road blocks associated with model development, scaling and automation as well as reveal novel insights into the development of an ultra high throughput system using automated platforms.

Join this session to leave with:

  • Engineering solutions from the benchtop to fully automated industrial scaled platforms
  • Adaptation of critical 3D culture hardware
  • Confirmation of the utility and possibility of 3D modeling using high content imaging
  • Examples of fast and accurate full plate imaging or organoids/spheroids using in house engineered plate auditors
  • Insights into acoustic transfer of drugs for drug reformulation and large scale synergy studies

Timothy Spicer
Assistant Professor – Molecular Medicine & Associate Scientific Director
Scripps Institute