Home pagePress monitoringBreast cancer-on-a-chip for testing immunotherapy drugs

Breast cancer-on-a-chip for testing immunotherapy drugs

Date: 3.2.2021 

In recent years, scientists have been trying to develop "checkpoint inhibitor" drugs which will counteract these suppressive checkpoint interactions in order to re-activate the body's immune response to tumor cells. One of these drugs is U.S. FDA approved to treat metastatic melanoma; others are available or under development to treat other malignancies.

Kredit: Khademhosseini Lab.Despite these advances, however, it remains difficult to determine which cancer patients are likely candidates for this type of therapy and which drugs have the most potential. Developing a method to address these challenges would be instrumental in determining the safest, most effective drugs for cancer patients while saving time and money in the process.

In order for such a method to be practical for clinical use, it should be able to achieve rapid testing of large numbers of potential immunotherapy drugs against live tumor cells for accurate, easily analyzable data.

A collaborative team from the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation (TIBI) has successfully designed and tested such a system. They began by culturing spherical aggregates of breast cancer cells in a custom-fabricated, 3-D printed, transparent chip with conical microwells. These microwells were designed for optimum growth and stability of the cellular spheres. Tests performed on the microwells' cellular spheres confirmed the cells' viability and their production of T-cell de-activating surface proteins





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