bims-miftum Biomed News
on Microfluidics and 3D tumor models
Issue of 2020‒08‒02
three papers selected by
Nidhi Menon
Virginia Tech

  1. Lab Chip. 2020 Jul 30.
    Komen J, Westerbeek EY, Kolkman RW, Roesthuis J, Lievens C, van den Berg A, van der Meer AD.
      We present a microfluidic device to expose cancer cells to a dynamic, in vivo-like concentration profile of a drug, and quantify efficacy on-chip. About 30% of cancer patients receive drug therapy. In conventional cell culture experiments drug efficacy is tested under static concentrations, e.g. 1 μM for 48 hours, whereas in vivo, drug concentration follows a pharmacokinetic profile with an initial peak and a decline over time. With the rise of microfluidic cell culture models, including organs-on-chips, there are opportunities to more realistically mimic in vivo-like concentrations. Our microfluidic device contains a cell culture chamber and a drug-dosing channel separated by a transparent membrane, to allow for shear stress-free drug exposure and label-free growth quantification. Dynamic drug concentration profiles in the cell culture chamber were controlled by continuously flowing controlled concentrations of drug in the dosing channel. The control over drug concentrations in the cell culture chambers was validated with fluorescence experiments and numerical simulations. Exposure of HCT116 colorectal cancer cells to static concentrations of the clinically used drug oxaliplatin resulted in a sensible dose-effect curve. Dynamic, in vivo-like drug exposure also led to statistically significant lower growth compared to untreated control. Continuous exposure to the average concentration of the in vivo-like exposure seems more effective than exposure to the peak concentration (Cmax) only. We expect that our microfluidic system will improve efficacy prediction of in vitro models, including organs-on-chips, and may lead to future clinical optimization of drug administration schedules.
  2. Lab Chip. 2020 Jul 27.
    Shirure VS, Lam SF, Shergill B, Chu YE, Ng NR, George SC.
      Hypoxia, or low oxygen (O2) tension, is a central feature of important disease processes including wound healing and cancer. Subtle temporal and spatial variations (≤1% change) in the concentration of O2 can profoundly impact gene expression and cellular functions. Sodium sulfite reacts rapidly with O2 and can be used to lower the O2 concentrations in PDMS-based tissue culture systems without exposing the cell culture to the chemical reaction. By carefully considering the mass transfer and reaction kinetics of sodium sulfite and O2, we developed a flexible theoretical framework to design an experimental microfluidic system that provides fine spatial and temporal control of O2 tension. The framework packages the dimensions, fluid flow, reaction rates, concentrations, and material properties of the fluidic lines and device into dimensionless groups that facilitate scaling and design. We validated the theoretical results by experimentally measuring O2 tension throughout the experimental system using phosphorescence lifetime imaging. We then tested the system by examining the impact of hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) on the proliferation and migration of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Using this system, we demonstrate that mild constant hypoxia (≤4%) induces HIF-1α mediated functional changes in the tumor cells. Furthermore, slow (>12 hours), but not rapid (<1 hour), fluctuations in O2 tension impact HIF-1α mediated proliferation and migration. Our results provide a generalized framework for fine temporal and spatial control of O2 and emphasize the need to consider mild spatial and temporal changes in O2 tension as potentially important factors in disease processes such as cancer.
  3. Front Immunol. 2020 ;11 1423
    Klöß S, Dehmel S, Braun A, Parnham MJ, Köhl U, Schiffmann S.
      Success in cancer treatment over the last four decades has ranged from improvements in classical drug therapy to immune oncology. Anti-cancer drugs have also often proven beneficial for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. In this review, we report on challenging examples that bridge between treatment of cancer and immune-mediated diseases, addressing mechanisms and experimental models as well as clinical investigations. Patient-derived tumor xenograft (PDX) (humanized) mouse models represent useful tools for preclinical evaluation of new therapies and biomarker identification. However, new developments using human ex vivo approaches modeling cancer, for example in microfluidic human organs-on-chips, promise to identify key molecular, cellular and immunological features of human cancer progression in a fully human setting. Classical drugs which bridge the gap, for instance, include cytotoxic drugs, proteasome inhibitors, PI3K/mTOR inhibitors and metabolic inhibitors. Biologicals developed for cancer therapy have also shown efficacy in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. In immune oncology, redirected chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells have achieved spectacular remissions in refractory B cell leukemia and lymphoma and are currently under development for tolerance induction using cell-based therapies such as CAR Tregs or NK cells. Finally, a brief outline will be given of the lessons learned from bridging cancer and autoimmune diseases as well as tolerance induction.
    Keywords:  autoimmune disease; checkpoint inhibitors; chimeric antigen receptors (CARs); immune tolerance; immunotherapy