Future outlook

As the chips can incorporate the primary cancer genome and can be used for drug target discovery and ‘clinical trials on chip’, hDMT’s Cancer-on-Chip program will pave the way to more efficient, personalized and therefore more effective treatments. The fact that the models will contain the cancer genome as well as the genome of the immune response of a patient, enables development of companion diagnostic assays to predict therapy response.

Development of new drugs

For drug development we envision the use of an Immunocompetent Cancer on Chip for lower throughput applications, that is, for drug target discovery service testing, and for final ‘clinical trial on a chip’ service testing. High throughput compound library screening (and medicinal chemistry) on the discovered drug target is expected to be performed inside pharma. It will become possible, for example, to create hundreds of human breast cancer tissue grafts on a chip from different patients, immune response included. This will greatly facilitate the development of new drugs, including immunotherapy, and other novel treatment modalities against different types of breast cancer in different stages, accelerating their entry in the market and lowering their costs.

Immunocompetent Cancer on Chip

The use of cancer on chip as ‘clinical trial on a chip’ will also enable initial preclinical testing of off-label use of drugs, like testing the efficacy of a drug that is approved for one type of cancer, e.g. melanoma, in another cancer type, e.g. breast cancer; or testing a drug that is approved for a completely different disease than cancer. The development of an Immunocompetent Cancer on Chip has high potential value but, needless to say, there is still a lot of work to be done.