hDMT’s immunocompetent cancer-on-chip program is characterized by a step-by-step approach, going from relatively simple designs, using standard cancer cell lines, towards more complex, organoid and stem cell based tissue structures that can even mimic the immune response and capture the human and cancer genome. The basic human cancer-on-chip model envisioned is a microfluidic device containing two hollow microchannels and two continuously perfused micrometer-sized chambers, separated by a microporous membrane.
Cancer cells, together with cancer-specific fibroblasts, are cultured as three-dimensional tissue on top of the membrane, while the bottom side is lined with endothelial cells, mimicking a blood vessel. The chip has a controlled external pumping system that allows for regulating the flow and pressure. To mimic the influence of the innate immune system, inflammatory cells can be introduced. As hDMT can draw on the work of Uwe Marx, who has already developed an in vitro model of a lymph node, it will also become possible to study interaction between cancer tissue and the adaptive immune system, by linking a cancer model to an in vitro lymph node model.