Interdisciplinary research

Cancer on Chip is an interdisciplinary program to which each partner contributes based on its own ongoing research and clinical interest. The potential for successful collaboration lies in the overlap of complementary knowledge and technology across the consortium.

Stem cell expertise

hDMT is unique in the world due to its stem cell expertise. Thanks to the organoid technology of the Hubrecht Institute and the HUB Foundation, it is possible to culture and expand tumor cells and tumor-associated fibroblasts obtained  from human cancer tissue samples. Leiden University Medical Center’s induced Pluripotent Stem cell technology allows for growing blood vessel and immune cells with the same genetic profile as a patient’s tumor. Hubrecht Institute and Leiden University have expertise in fluorescence cell monitoring techniques, while clinical oncology expertise is provided by the Erasmus Medical Centre and LUMC.

Interaction

Using the microsystem technologies (microfluidics, micro/nanopatterning, porous membranes, 3D printing) of the Technical Universities and Philips it is possible to mimic interactions between tumor cells and their biochemical and physical environment on chip. The human in vitro mimic of the immune system is co-developed by TU Berlin’s organ-on-chip expert Uwe Marx, enabling incorporation of the immune response to the tumor in order to create an ‘immunocompetent cancer on chip’ model. Biochemistry groups of TUe are responsible for designing and modeling tumor tissue-specific artificial extracellular matrices. Parallel to the making of cancer models on chip, TU Delft, TUe, the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science and Philips are developing knowledge-based computational modeling approaches for cancer. Micronit Microfluidics, the Technical Universities and Philips offer support for the technical standardization, enabling manufacturing of a modular microfluidics chip system of mutually compatible building blocks. The Technical Universities have facilities for prototype development and testing, while high throughput production of disposable chip components can take place at Philips and Micronit.

Novel therapies

To implement the use of the cancer models for development of novel therapies (drugs as well as physical therapies like novel irradiation modalities) hDMT collaborates with the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research and with the biotech companies Galapagos and Genmab, which all have alliances with the pharmaceutical industry.

While working on this advanced, low to medium throughput, immunocompetent cancer chip, hDMT has  the higher throughput commercial organ-on-chip platform OrganoPlate of Mimetas already available for research and drug development purposes.