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.’
As part of the Belle experiment, researchers were able to measure the energy dependence of e+e- -> B-anti-B, B-anti-B* and B*-anti-B* reactions in the 10.63 GeV to 11.02 GeV energy range for the first time. The new data will help clarify the nature of the group of exotic Upsilon mesons that have mass in this range. The results of the study were published in the Journal of High Energy Physics.
The Fourth ICEF Conference on Applied Economics will present the studies conducted by scholars at the universities across the world, that relate to education. We talked with Fabian Slonimczyk, an Associate Professor at ICEF and the conference organizing committee member, to learn more about the highlights of this year’s conference.
Dr. Ger Graus, Global Director of Education at KidZania, is a visiting lecturer invited to work remotely with HSE University students. Last academic year, Dr. Graus conducted a series of seminars on ‘Schooling vs Education’ for students of the Master's programme in Educational Administration.
From September 8 to 12, 2021, the HSE Art and Design School will present projects that examine the topics of online privacy, attention deficit disorder in the digital environment, the perception of the human body, and ‘dark ecology’. The programme includes performances, interactive art exhibitions and a roundtable discussion on the theoretical understanding of digital transformations of culture.
HSE Rector: Universities Should Create New Educational and Research Products and Expand Human Capital
How should the universities of the Asia-Pacific region develop in the digital era, what challenges does the Russian labour market face, and what are the prospects of the Far East and Arctic region? These were some of the topics discussed during the first day of the Eastern Economic Forum, which featured the participation of HSE Rector Nikita Anisimov and other HSE University experts.
HSE Researchers Compare Expressive and Receptive Language Abilities of Russian-speaking Children with ASD for the First Time
Researchers from the HSE Centre for Language and Brain and their Russian and American colleagues have become the first to compare expressive and receptive language abilities of Russian children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at different linguistic levels. Their work helped them refute the hypothesis that children with ASD understand spoken language less well than they produce it. The study was published in Research in Developmental Disabilities.
An international team of researchers including Alexander Tonevitsky, Professor at HSE’s Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, found that pituitary hormones may produce different effects on the left and right sides of the body following a traumatic brain injury. These differences can accelerate the development of motor disorders. Researchers are trying to determine whether treatment that blocks the corresponding hormones can counteract these effects. The results of the study were published in the journal eLife.
Aleksey Kychkin, Associate Professor in the Department of Information Technologies in Business at HSE University in Perm, together with Georgios Chasparis, a scientist at the Software Competence Center Hagenberg (SCCH, Austria), built models to predict energy consumption in residential buildings for the day ahead. The electricity consumption profile of a group of residential buildings, which is determined for the day ahead, will allow electricity demand to be effectively managed. The results of the research were published in ‘Energy and Buildings’journal.
How has higher education influenced the evolution of nations since the Second World War—and vice versa? Stanford professor Mitchell Stevens and Institute of Education researcher Ekaterina Shibanova have tried to answer this question in a special issue of the European Journal of Higher Education. They invited renowned historians, political experts, sociologists and economists to develop ‘a consensus on the role of higher education in political and social history after 1945.’ The special issue was created with input from researchers from Canada, Luxembourg, Russia, Germany, France, the UK, and Sweden.
The 4th International Economics Olympiad (IEO) has come to a close after taking place online in Latvia from July 21 to 1 August. The competition was organized by HSE University and the University of Latvia.