Tumor-on-Chip Model mimics hypoxia and acidic microenvironment

Monday, 18 May 2020

Researchers from the University of Twente (group of hDMT PI Severine Le Gac) and Radboudumc (group of Wouter Verdurmen) in Nijmegen, created an easy-to-fabricate microfluidic device that recapitulates essential features of the tumor environment including hypoxia and an acidic tumor microenvironment. In particular, the device mimics tumor regions that have a relatively large distance from the most nearby functional capillary.

The device is fabricated from oxygen-permeable PDMS, so to block oxygen diffusion into the chamber, and to be able to mimic oxygen deprivation, a sheet of PMMA, which is an oxygen-impermeable polymer commonly known as Plexiglas, was added in the roof of the device.

Currently, there are no therapeutics that specifically target such nutrient-poor regions in tumors. However, it is well-established that these regions are very important in treatment resistance and that they negatively affect the activity of most, if not all, immune cells, which are crucial for many immunotherapies.

This newly designed platform will allow basic investigations of how these factors influence distinct cancer therapies, as well as facilitate the development of novel single or combinatorial therapies that target these areas.

This work was published in the scientific journal Micromachines: Metabolic Switching of Tumor Cells under Hypoxic Conditions in a Tumor-on-a-chip Model.

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