New Synthetic Tumor Microenvironments


Researchers from the University of Illinois have developed a new synthetic tissue microenvironment that may give cancer researchers the next-best look at tumor growth and behavior. The 3D patterned vasculature tumor microenvironment is created by changing the flow rates of fluid channels and the structures are made of alginate that was mixed with breast cancer cells in the outer layer and macrophages on the inner layer. The 3D vascularization, a network of capillaries that carry drugs and other materials are created can go from straight, to snakelike, to any shape, that offers modelling for metastasis, because the vessel architecture can be tuned on the fly. 

The technology accurately predicted the clinically measured EC50 of three drugs: Gefitinib, zoledronic acid, and RAC inhibitor. This quick process to create synthetic tumor microenvironments lends to tremendous potential such as model systems for high-throughput screening for drug efficacy, as well as flowable and vascularized lab-on-a-fiber platforms. Finally, biopsied cancer cells lends to personalized cancer treatments with this device that could realistically and quickly recreate microenvironments found across biology.