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Microfluidic device for combination drug screening on cancer biopsy

Penelitian - Scientists have developed a new device that allows testing a combination of cancer drugs to be quickly and cheaply tested on tumor cells. Research reported in Nature Communications is the latest step in personalized medicine using a microfluidic device where a cancer test can be used to tell doctors about a combination of safe and effective cancer treatments.

The team of researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Aachen University Hospital, University Hospital Heidelberg and Heidelberg University combined the basic science of clinical expertise to screen over 1100 treatment conditions comprising 56 drug combinations in 20 replicates in tumor cells patient.

Penelitian Microfluidic device for combination drug screening on cancer biopsy

"This is an interesting 'proof of principle' collaboration between scientists and doctors. We have shown this test can be run quickly and less than US$150 per patient," said Christoph Merten of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.

Large scale patient-specific drug screening has so far been limited by the size of a small biopsy normally obtained from patients. Researchers are now testing directly some cancer drugs on biopsies is a powerful way to find the best remedy in which the characteristics of each tumor are specific. The team developed miniature devices that could test more drugs on a small number of cells.

Several combinations of targeted drugs and just killing one type of cancer cell are more effective than standard clinical therapy using only one drug. Tests were performed on cells from four cancer patient biopsies applied to microfluidic devices and tested different drug combinations.

"We found each individual cancer responds best to different drug combinations to meet the immediate needs for patient-specific therapy," said Federica Eduati of the European Bioinformatics Institute.

Microfluidic devices are plastic or glass with microscopic holes and embedded channels. The device uses a programmable, small valve to open and close in a highly controlled manner. The volume of cells is pumped carefully through the duct tissue and exposed to different medications.

Journal : Federica Eduati et al. A microfluidics platform for combinatorial drug screening on cancer biopsies, Nature Communications, 22 June 2018, DOI:10.1038/s41467-018-04919-w