bims-miftum Biomed News
on Microfluidics and 3D tumor models
Issue of 2020‒08‒09
two papers selected by
Nidhi Menon
Virginia Tech

  1. Biomicrofluidics. 2020 Jul;14(4): 044107
    Nam H, Funamoto K, Jeon JS.
      Cancer metastasis, which is prevalent in malignant tumors, is present in a variety of cases depending on the primary tumor and metastatic site. The cancer metastasis is affected by various factors that surround and constitute a tumor microenvironment. One of the several factors, oxygen tension, can affect cancer cells and induce changes in many ways, including motility, directionality, and viability. In particular, the oxygen tension gradient is formed within a tumor cluster and oxygen is lower toward the center of the cluster from the perivascular area. The simple and efficient designing of the tumor microenvironment using microfluidic devices enables the simplified and robust platform of the complex in vivo microenvironment while observing a clear cause-and-effect between the properties of cancer cells under oxygen tension. Here, a microfluidic device with five channels including a gel channel, media channels, and gas channels is designed. MDA-MB-231cells are seeded in the microfluidic device with hydrogel to simulate their three-dimensional movement in the body. The motility and directionality of the cancer cells under the normoxic and oxygen tension gradient conditions are compared. Also, the viability of the cancer cells is analyzed for each condition when anticancer drugs are applied. Unlike the normoxic condition, under the oxygen tension gradient, cancer cells showed directionality toward higher oxygen tension and decreased viability against the certain anticancer drug. The simplified design of the tumor microenvironment through microfluidic devices enables comprehension of the response of cancer cells to varying oxygen tensions and cancer drugs in the hypoxic tumor microenvironment.
  2. Rom J Morphol Embryol. 2020 ;61(1): 15-23
    Bulboacă AE, Boarescu PM, Melincovici CS, Mihu CM.
      In the last years, animal testing in medical research has been a controversial topic because of various reasons, such as ethical considerations and species differences. Therefore, more attention has been given to develop new technologies that can replace animal experiments and create in vitro models. Organ-on-a-chip (OOC) technology is a new and advanced technology based on microfluidic devices that can mimic the structure and function of entire organs and tissues as in vitro models. OOC models are miniature tissues and organs that assign characteristics for three-dimensional (3D) cell culture representation that resemble the original organs, together with their specific microenvironment microfluidic systems and specific biophysical processes, in order to mimic the normal physiological conditions and functionalities of the organs. Existing OOC models, such as liver, pancreas, heart, skin, brain, kidney, vessels, have been developed and designed for a specific function study. This review focuses on the main knowledge concerning OOC research and especially vascular endothelium-on-a-chip (EOC) model, developed in order to offer specific tools for studying vascular functions in physiological and pathological conditions. The field of OOC devices is still at the beginning, but in the future, this technology may have important roles in developing novel therapeutic approaches, offering new therapeutic molecules and providing the first step towards personalized medicine.