Researchers Discover How to Obtain ‘Ideal’ 3D Cell Cultures for Cancer Research
A group of scientists from Hungary, Russia and Finland have developed a system capable of selecting cancer cells of a specific shape and size—spheroids. SpheroidPicker, the first AI device of its kind, enables a more standardized approach to working with tumour samples. The results of the research have been published in the journal Scientific Reports. One of researchers who worked on the project is Nikita Moshkov, Junior Research Fellow of the Laboratory on AI for Computational Biology.
The researchers studied cancer treatment methods using the ex vivo method (Latin for ‘out of the living’). A tumour cell sample is taken from a patient, then subjected to certain conditions that make it possible to select individual treatments and methods. This approach helps with the research of rare forms of cancer in cases when adopting new treatment methods is difficult due to the small number of patients.
Ex vivo research often uses 2D monolayer cultures of cancer cells. However, the properties of 2D samples differ from those of real tumours — 3D cell structures produce a more realistic response to treatments, and as such are useful in researching drug penetration and tumour development.
Of the many possible 3D cell shapes, spheroids (so-called for the spherical shape of the tumour cells) have properties that most resemble real-life cases. The structure of spheroid tumour cells produces a microenvironment with similar characteristics to real cancer cells, creating a better approximation of cancer cells than monolayer cultures.
In the past, there have been various complications associated with the use of 3D cell structures. First, as there is no unified protocol for creating spheroids, analysts have used samples of varying shapes and in most cases, cell collection has been performed manually. Secondly, modern devices are not capable of easily transferring the selected spheroids to a separate environment for further research.
The authors of the work proposed a solution to both problems. They were able to combine into one mechanism two main stages of creating three-dimensional cultures of cancer cells: the selection of spheroids of the correct shape and their subsequent transfer to the required environment. Scientists have developed a fast and accurate method for finding spheroids based on deep learning. To train the models, a unique database of images of cancer cells of various shapes were created, and a model capable of detecting and segmenting the necessary objects was trained.
The device uses a microscope with a wide field of view for analyzing samples quickly and effectively. The micromanipulator is then used to move a glass capillary rod containing the selected spheroids.
Nikita Moshkov, co-author of the study and Junior Research Fellow of the HSE University Laboratory on AI for Computational Biology
‘Our device is unique in that it allows the operator to specify the required morphological properties of the selected sample, such as a range of sizes. Transferring the spheroids does not affect their morphology or viability, which means that SpheroidPicker can become an indispensable tool for researching cancer treatments and new treatment approaches.’
Pivot to the East: A Comprehensive Study of the Cultural and Civilisational Centres of the Non-Western World is the Top Priority
China and the Chinese world, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arab countries, Iran, Turkey, Central Asia and Africa are gaining new significance in Russia’s foreign policy. However, we do not know enough about the Eastern countries. It is necessary to change the priorities in education, starting from grammar school. Prospects for the development of domestic Oriental studies in the context of the new stage in the development of the system of international relations were discussed at a round table at HSE University.
Robert Romanowski was a ‘Digital Professor’ at HSE University in November 2021. In his interview for the HSE News Service, he talked about the specifics of online teaching, his course on Strategic Branding, and the skills that are essential for marketing professionals today.
There is major potential for economic and humanitarian cooperation between Russia and African countries. Particularly, Russian organisations and universities can help transfer competencies and knowledge in the fields of agriculture, energy, industrial production, environmental management, climate change, and public administration. Experts and representatives of African embassies in Russia discussed these issues at the round table ‘Russia-Africa Sharing Knowledge’ hosted by HSE University.
As part of an international project conducted with the participation of Roscosmos and the European Space Agency, a team of researchers used differential tractography to analyse dMRI scans ofcosmonauts’ brains and found significant changes in brain connectivity, with some of the changes persisting after seven months back on Earth. The paper is published in Frontiers in Neural Circuits.
HSE University-Perm and the Training Centre of the Uzbek Ministry of Finance Sign Cooperation Agreement
HSE University in Perm has become the first academic partner of the Training Centre under the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The parties have signed a cooperation agreement in education and research.
On November 9, 2021, HSE University signed a memorandum of understanding with Wageningen University & Research, a major university in the Netherlands and one of the leading agricultural research institutes in the world. Participants of the signing ceremony included HSE University Rector Nikita Anisimov, President of the Wageningen University & Research Executive Board Professor Louise Fresco, and Dutch Ambassador to Russia Gilles Beschoor Plug.
The majority of Russians would not agree to being fitted with microchip implants for any purposes—medical or otherwise. A joint study conducted by HSE University’s International Laboratory for Applied Network Research and Aventica found that respondents believe the risks of personal data leaks and misuse to be too high.
The 10th International Moscow Finance Conference, organized by HSE ICEF, took place on October 29–30 online. Vladimir Sokolov, Head of the International Laboratory of Financial Economics, which hosted the conference, talks about the participants, the key presentation topics and how they will impact the global economy.
The UN Climate Change Conference is taking place from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow. The conference focuses on preventive measures against the catastrophic and irreversible consequences of rising average global air temperatures. Igor Makarov, Head of the HSE Laboratory for Economics of Climate Change, will be taking part in the Glasgow conference. In the following interview, he speaks about the pressing problems Russia and the world are facing, and the research HSE scholars are doing on climate change.
HSE University and Coursera are bringing together the world’s leading researchers, professionals, education and technology leaders, and business community representatives for the fourth international research conference eLearning Stakeholders and Researchers Summit 2021 (eSTARS). This topic of this year’s summit, which will run from December 1–2, 2021,is ‘Digital Transformation: Global Challenges to the Education System’.