WFORCE is jointly funded and operated by the Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center (WFBCCC) and the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM). This Center is part of the NCI-funded Tumor and Tissue Shared Resource (TTPSR).

WFBCCC and WFIRM are leading institutes in the field of cancer research and regenerative medicine, respectively. 

Cancer and Personalized Medicine

Drug Development

Using the expertise employed to build tissue and organs for patients, WFIRM scientists have engineered micro hearts, lungs and livers. By combining the micro-organs in a monitored system, the researchers aim to mimic how the human body responds to medications. This micro-organ system can further be used to develop and test new drugs. Drug compounds are currently screened in the lab using human cells in cell culture dishes and then directly tested in animals. But neither of these methods adequately replicates how drugs affect human organs. In many cases during testing of new drug candidates – and sometimes even after the drugs have been approved for use – drugs show unexpected toxic effects in organs not initially tested for these drugs.

Among the goals of WFORCE is helping to reduce the estimated $2 billion price tag and 90 percent failure rate that pharmaceutical companies face when developing new medications.  The use of tumor organoids is emerging as an attractive option for basic research, drug development and drug testing.

Body-on-a-Chip Program