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Tumor Modeling

Building Tissues-like Legos in Microfluidic Chips

Conventional 2D and 3D in vitro approaches to modelling the tumor microenvironment often fall short in capturing the physiological complexities observed in vivo.  Animal modeling remains a prominent tool in elucidating specific pathways involved in cancer progression but is ultimately limited as the ‘host’ is a non-human system, and often can capture complexity in limited dimensions (soluble factors, matrix composition, engineered cell-cell contacts or monoculture spheroids). Developing microfluidic systems that capitalize on biochemical and cellular compartmentalization allows for selective coupling of these dimensions while creating new 2D and 3D invitro models.

2D Subtractive Biopatterning

Using the MFP platform, we generate co-cultures that are spatially compartmentalized with rapid subtractive biopatterning coupled with sequential co-culture. This technique of generating co-cultures allows for new investigations in cancer migration studies and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) transformations.

Subtractive patterning of breast cancer cell lines using the microfluidic probe. Kashyap, A. et al., J. Vis. Exp. (2016).


Compartmentalized bioprinting of murine breast cancer cell lines for maintenance studies (Image credit: Brian Ma, 2023)

3D Bioprinting into Microfluidic Perfusion Devices

Bioprinting modalities facilitate the precise manipulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) mechanical properties and composition, and precision control over the distribution of cells and biochemical factors within a model system. The integration of bioprinted models within microfluidic chips will enable the localized or global treatment, maintenance, and subsequent spatial multi-omic characterization of cell-laden 3D constructs via the implementation of the methodologies developed in tumor profiling.

Related Publications

Selective local lysis and sampling of live cells for nucleic acid analysis using a microfluidic probe

Scientific Reports

Rapid subtractive patterning of live cell layers with a microfluidic probe

JoVE Journal

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