Article

Biofabrication of advanced in vitro and ex vivo cancer models for disease modeling and drug screening

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

Bioengineered in vitro models have advanced from 2D cultures and simple 3D cell aggregates to more complex organoids and organ-on-a-chip platforms. This shift has been substantial in cancer research; while simple systems remain in use, multi-tissue type tumor and tissue chips and patient-derived tumor organoids have grown rapidly. These more advanced models offer new tools to cancer researchers based on human tumor physiology and the potential for interactions with nontumor tissue physiology while avoiding critical differences between human and animal biology. In this focused review, the authors discuss the importance of organoid and organ-on-a-chip platforms, with a particular focus on modeling cancer, to highlight oncology-focused in vitro model platform technologies that improve upon the simple 2D cultures and 3D spheroid models of the past.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... [22][23][24][25] Previous efforts showed that 3D bioprinting technology can be used to arrange tumor spheroids and organoids for various applications like drug screening and tissue engineering. [26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34] Although 3D bioprinting technology can achieve multi-size, multi-material, and multi-cell printing tasks, it limits in the precise construction. [22,[35][36][37] Here, we used an acoustic bioprinting device to precisely arrange colorectal cancer (CRC) and healthy organoids into 3D architecture for mimicking the diseased colorectum of patient. ...
Article
Full-text available
Cancer models, which are biologically representative of patient tumors, can predict the treatment responses and help determine the most appropriate cancer treatment for individual patients. Here, a point-of-care testing system called acoustically bioprinted patient-derived microtissues (PDMs) that can model cancer invasion and predict treatment response in individual patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), is reported. The PDMs are composed of patient-derived colorectal tumors and healthy organoids which can be precisely arranged by acoustic bioprinting approach for recapulating primary tissue's architecture. Particularly, these tumor organoids can be efficiently generated and can apprehend histological, genomic, and phenotypical characteristics of primary tumors. Consequently, these PDMs allow physiologically relevant in vitro drug (5-fluorouracil) screens, thus predicting the paired patient's responses to chemotherapy. A correlation between organoid invasion speed and normalized spreading speed of the paired patients is further established. It provides a quantitative indicator to help doctors make better decisions on ultimate anus-preserving operation for extremely low CRC patients. Thus, by combing acoustic bioprinting and organoid cultures, this method may open an avenue to establish complex 3D tissue models for precision and personalized medicine.
Article
Full-text available
Colorectal cancer (CRC) progression is a complex process that is not well understood. We describe an in vitro organ-on-chip model that emulates in vivo tissue structure and the tumor microenvironment (TME) to better understand intravasation, an early step in metastasis. The CRC-on-Chip incorporates fluid flow and peristalsis-like cyclic stretching and consists of endothelial and epithelial compartments, separated by a porous membrane. On-chip imaging and effluent analyses are used to interrogate CRC progression and the resulting cellular heterogeneity. Mass spectrometry-based metabolite profiles are indicative of a CRC disease state. Tumor cells intravasate from the epithelial channel to the endothelial channel, revealing differences in invasion between aggressive and non-aggressive tumor cells. Tuning the TME by peristalsis-like mechanical forces, the epithelial:endothelial interface, and the addition of fibroblasts influences the invasive capabilities of tumor cells. The CRC-on-Chip is a tunable human-relevant model system and a valuable tool to study early invasive events in cancer.
Article
Full-text available
The rapid repurposing of antivirals is particularly pressing during pandemics. However, rapid assays for assessing candidate drugs typically involve in vitro screens and cell lines that do not recapitulate human physiology at the tissue and organ levels. Here we show that a microfluidic bronchial-airway-on-a-chip lined by highly differentiated human bronchial-airway epithelium and pulmonary endothelium can model viral infection, strain-dependent virulence, cytokine production and the recruitment of circulating immune cells. In airway chips infected with influenza A, the co-administration of nafamostat with oseltamivir doubled the treatment-time window for oseltamivir. In chips infected with pseudotyped severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), clinically relevant doses of the antimalarial drug amodiaquine inhibited infection but clinical doses of hydroxychloroquine and other antiviral drugs that inhibit the entry of pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 in cell lines under static conditions did not. We also show that amodiaquine showed substantial prophylactic and therapeutic activities in hamsters challenged with native SARS-CoV-2. The human airway-on-a-chip may accelerate the identification of therapeutics and prophylactics with repurposing potential.
Article
Full-text available
Organ-on-a-chip technology has the potential to accelerate pharmaceutical drug development, improve the clinical translation of basic research, and provide personalized intervention strategies. In the last decade, big pharma has engaged in many academic research cooperations to develop organ-on-a-chip systems for future drug discoveries. Although most organ-on-a-chip systems present proof-of-concept studies, miniaturized organ systems still need to demonstrate translational relevance and predictive power in clinical and pharmaceutical settings. This review explores whether microfluidic technology succeeded in paving the way for developing physiologically relevant human in vitro models for pharmacology and toxicology in biomedical research within the last decade. Individual organ-on-a-chip systems are discussed, focusing on relevant applications and highlighting their ability to tackle current challenges in pharmacological research.
Article
Full-text available
Multiorgan-on-a-chip (multi-OoC) platforms have great potential to redefine the way in which human health research is conducted. After briefly reviewing the need for comprehensive multiorgan models with a systemic dimension, we highlight scenarios in which multiorgan models are advantageous. We next overview existing multi-OoC platforms, including integrated body-on-a-chip devices and modular approaches involving interconnected organ-specific modules. We highlight how multi-OoC models can provide unique information that is not accessible using single-OoC models. Finally, we discuss remaining challenges for the realization of multi-OoC platforms and their worldwide adoption. We anticipate that multi-OoC technology will metamorphose research in biology and medicine by providing holistic and personalized models for understanding and treating multisystem diseases.
Article
Full-text available
Patient-derived cancer organoids hold great potential to accurately model and predict therapeutic responses. Efficient organoid isolation methods that minimize post-collection manipulation of tissues would improve adaptability, accuracy, and applicability to both experimental and real-time clinical settings. Here we present a simple and minimally invasive fine-needle aspiration (FNA)-based organoid culture technique using a variety of tumor types including gastrointestinal, thyroid, melanoma, and kidney. This method isolates organoids directly from patients at the bedside or from resected tissues, requiring minimal tissue processing while preserving the histologic growth patterns and infiltrating immune cells. Finally, we illustrate diverse downstream applications of this technique including in vitro high-throughput chemotherapeutic screens, in situ immune cell characterization, and in vivo patient-derived xenografts. Thus, routine clinical FNA-based collection techniques represent an unappreciated substantial source of material that can be exploited to generate tumor organoids from a variety of tumor types for both discovery and clinical applications.
Article
Full-text available
The tumor microenvironment (TME) plays a significant role in cancer progression and thus modeling it will advance our understanding of cancer growth dynamics and response to therapies. Most in vitro models are not exposed to intact body physiology, and at the same time, fail to recapitulate the extensive features of the tumor stroma. Conversely, animal models do not accurately capture the human tumor architecture. We address these deficiencies with biofabricated colorectal cancer (CRC) tissue equivalents, which are built to replicate architectural features of biopsied CRC tissue. Our data shows that tumor-stroma co-cultures consisting of aligned extracellular matrix (ECM) fibers and ordered micro-architecture induced an epithelial phenotype in CRC cells while disordered ECM drove a mesenchymal phenotype, similar to well and poorly differentiated tumors, respectively. Importantly, co-cultures studied in vitro, and upon implantation in mice, revealed similar tumor growth dynamics and retention of architectural features for 28 days. Altogether, these results are the first demonstration of replicating human tumor ECM architecture in ex vivo and in vivo cultures.
Article
Full-text available
The current drug development pipeline takes approximately fifteen years and $2.6 billion to get a new drug to market. Typically, drugs are tested on two-dimensional (2D) cell cultures and animal models to estimate their efficacy before reaching human trials. However, these models are often not representative of the human body. The 2D culture changes the morphology and physiology of cells, and animal models often have a vastly different anatomy and physiology than humans. The use of bioengineered human cell-based organoids may increase the probability of success during human trials by providing human-specific preclinical data. They could also be deployed for personalized medicine diagnostics to optimize therapies in diseases such as cancer. However, one limitation in employing organoids in drug screening has been the difficulty in creating large numbers of homogeneous organoids in form factors compatible with high-throughput screening (e.g., 96- and 384-well plates). Bioprinting can be used to scale up deposition of such organoids and tissue constructs. Unfortunately, it has been challenging to 3D print hydrogel bioinks into small-sized wells due to well–bioink interactions that can result in bioinks spreading out and wetting the well surface instead of maintaining a spherical form. Here, we demonstrate an immersion printing technique to bioprint tissue organoids in 96-well plates to increase the throughput of 3D drug screening. A hydrogel bioink comprised of hyaluronic acid and collagen is bioprinted into a viscous gelatin bath, which blocks the bioink from interacting with the well walls and provides support to maintain a spherical form. This method was validated using several cancerous cell lines, and then applied to patient-derived glioblastoma (GBM) and sarcoma biospecimens for drug screening.
Article
Full-text available
Current drug development techniques are expensive and inefficient, partially due to the use of preclinical models that do not accurately recapitulate in vivo drug efficacy and cytotoxicity. To address this challenge, we report on an integrated, in vitro multi-organoid system that enables parallel assessment of drug efficiency and toxicity on multiple 3D tissue organoids. Built in a low-cost, adhesive film-based microfluidic device, these miniaturized structures require less than 200 µL fluid volume and are amenable to both matrix-based 3D cell culture and spheroid aggregate integration, each supported with an in situ photocrosslinkable hyaluronic acid hydrogel. Here, we demonstrate this technology first with a three-organoid device consisting of liver, cardiac, and lung constructs. We show that these multiple tissue types can be kept in common circulation with high viability for 21 days and validate the platform by investigating liver metabolism of the prodrug capecitabine into 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and observing downstream toxicity in lung and cardiac organoids. Then we expand the integrated system to accommodate six humanized constructs, including liver, cardiac, lung, endothelium, brain, and testes organoids. Following a 14-day incubation in common media, we demonstrate multi-tissue interactions by metabolizing the alkylating prodrug ifosfamide in the liver organoid to produce chloroacetaldehyde and induce downstream neurotoxicity. Our results establish an expandable, multi-organoid body-on-a-chip system that can be fabricated easily and used for the accurate characterization of drug interactions in vitro. Statement of Significance The use of 3-dimensional (3D) in vitro models in drug development has advanced over the past decade. However, with several exceptions, the majority of research studies using 3D in vitro models, such as organoids, employ single tissue types, in isolated environments with no “communication” between different tissues. This is a significant limiting factor because in the human body there is significant signaling between different cells, tissues, and organs. Here we employ a low-cost, adhesive film-based microfluidic device approach, paired with a versatile extracellular matrix-derived hyaluronic acid hydrogel to support integrated systems of 3 and 6 3D organoid and cell constructs. Moreover, we demonstrate an integrated response to drugs, in which downstream toxicity is dependent on the presence of liver organoids.
Article
Full-text available
Oncogenic mutations in KRAS or BRAF are frequent in colorectal cancer and activate the ERK kinase. Here, we find graded ERK phosphorylation correlating with cell differentiation in patient-derived colorectal cancer organoids with and without KRAS mutations. Using reporters, single cell transcriptomics and mass cytometry, we observe cell type-specific phosphorylation of ERK in response to transgenic KRASG12V in mouse intestinal organoids, while transgenic BRAFV600E activates ERK in all cells. Quantitative network modelling from perturbation data reveals that activation of ERK is shaped by cell type-specific MEK to ERK feed forward and negative feedback signalling. We identify dual-specificity phosphatases as candidate modulators of ERK in the intestine. Furthermore, we find that oncogenic KRAS, together with β-Catenin, favours expansion of crypt cells with high ERK activity. Our experiments highlight key differences between oncogenic BRAF and KRAS in colorectal cancer and find unexpected heterogeneity in a signalling pathway with fundamental relevance for cancer therapy.
Article
Full-text available
Colorectal cancer is subject to a high rate of mutations, with late stage tumors often containing many mutations. These tumors are difficult to treat, and even with the recently implemented methods of personalized medicine at modern hospitals aiming to narrow treatments, a gap still exists. Proper modeling of these tumors may help to recommend optimal treatments for individual patients, preferably utilizing a model that maintains proper signaling in respect to the derived parent tissue. In this study, we utilized an extracellular matrix-derived hydrogel to create a 3D micro-tumor construct platform capable of both supporting cells for long time durations and for high throughput drug screening. Experiments with cell lines demonstrated long-term viability with maintenance of cell proliferation. Furthermore, studies with several chemotherapeutics utilizing different mechanisms of action displayed differences in efficacy in comparing 3D and 2D cultures. Finally, patient colorectal tumor tissue was acquired and employed to reconstruct micro-tumor constructs, providing a system for the testing of novel chemotherapeutics against tumors in a patient-specific manner. Collectively, the results describe a system capable of high throughput testing while maintaining important characteristics of the parent tissue.
Article
Full-text available
The neurovascular unit (NVU) regulates metabolic homeostasis as well as drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in the central nervous system. Metabolic fluxes and conversions over the NVU rely on interactions between brain microvascular endothelium, perivascular pericytes, astrocytes and neurons, making it difficult to identify the contributions of each cell type. Here we model the human NVU using microfluidic organ chips, allowing analysis of the roles of individual cell types in NVU functions. Three coupled chips model influx across the blood–brain barrier (BBB), the brain parenchymal compartment and efflux across the BBB. We used this linked system to mimic the effect of intravascular administration of the psychoactive drug methamphetamine and to identify previously unknown metabolic coupling between the BBB and neurons. Thus, the NVU system offers an in vitro approach for probing transport, efficacy, mechanism of action and toxicity of neuroactive drugs.
Article
Full-text available
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common primary liver cancer and the second most frequent cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. The multikinase inhibitor sorafenib is the only treatment option for advanced HCC. Due to tumor heterogeneity, its efficacy greatly varies between patients and is limited due to adverse effects and drug resistance. Current in vitro models fail to recapitulate key features of HCCs. We report the generation of long-term organoid cultures from tumor needle biopsies of HCC patients with various etiologies and tumor stages. HCC organoids retain the morphology as well as the expression pattern of HCC tumor markers and preserve the genetic heterogeneity of the originating tumors. In a proof-of-principle study, we show that liver cancer organoids can be used to test sensitivity to sorafenib. In conclusion, organoid models can be derived from needle biopsies of liver cancers and provide a tool for developing tailored therapies.
Article
Full-text available
Traditional high-throughput drug screening in oncology routinely relies on two-dimensional (2D) cell models, which inadequately recapitulate the physiologic context of cancer. Three-dimensional (3D) cell models are thought to better mimic the complexity of in vivo tumors. Numerous methods to culture 3D organoids have been described, but most are nonhomogeneous and expensive, and hence impractical for high-throughput screening (HTS) purposes. Here we describe an HTS-compatible method that enables the consistent production of organoids in standard flat-bottom 384- and 1536-well plates by combining the use of a cell-repellent surface with a bioprinting technology incorporating magnetic force. We validated this homogeneous process by evaluating the effects of well-characterized anticancer agents against four patient-derived pancreatic cancer KRAS mutant-associated primary cells, including cancer-associated fibroblasts. This technology was tested for its compatibility with HTS automation by completing a cytotoxicity pilot screen of ~3300 approved drugs. To highlight the benefits of the 3D format, we performed this pilot screen in parallel in both the 2D and 3D assays. These data indicate that this technique can be readily applied to support large-scale drug screening relying on clinically relevant, ex vivo 3D tumor models directly harvested from patients, an important milestone toward personalized medicine.
Article
Full-text available
Microphysiological systems (MPSs) are in vitro models that capture facets of in vivo organ function through use of specialized culture microenvironments, including 3D matrices and microperfusion. Here, we report an approach to co-culture multiple different MPSs linked together physiologically on re-useable, open-system microfluidic platforms that are compatible with the quantitative study of a range of compounds, including lipophilic drugs. We describe three different platform designs - "4-way", "7-way", and "10-way" - each accommodating a mixing chamber and up to 4, 7, or 10 MPSs. Platforms accommodate multiple different MPS flow configurations, each with internal re-circulation to enhance molecular exchange, and feature on-board pneumatically-driven pumps with independently programmable flow rates to provide precise control over both intra- and inter-MPS flow partitioning and drug distribution. We first developed a 4-MPS system, showing accurate prediction of secreted liver protein distribution and 2-week maintenance of phenotypic markers. We then developed 7-MPS and 10-MPS platforms, demonstrating reliable, robust operation and maintenance of MPS phenotypic function for 3 weeks (7-way) and 4 weeks (10-way) of continuous interaction, as well as PK analysis of diclofenac metabolism. This study illustrates several generalizable design and operational principles for implementing multi-MPS "physiome-on-a-chip" approaches in drug discovery.
Article
Full-text available
Variability in patient response to anti-cancer drugs is currently addressed by relating genetic mutations to chemotherapy through precision medicine. However, practical benefits of precision medicine to therapy design are less clear. Even after identification of mutations, oncologists are often left with several drug options, and for some patients there is no definitive treatment solution. There is a need for model systems to help predict personalized responses to chemotherapeutics. We have microengineered 3D tumor organoids directly from fresh tumor biopsies to provide patient-specific models with which treatment optimization can be performed before initiation of therapy. We demonstrate the initial implementation of this platform using tumor biospecimens surgically removed from two mesothelioma patients. First, we show the ability to biofabricate and maintain viable 3D tumor constructs within a tumor-on-a-chip microfluidic device. Second, we demonstrate that results of on-chip chemotherapy screening mimic those observed in subjects themselves. Finally, we demonstrate mutation-specific drug testing by considering the results of precision medicine genetic screening and confirming the effectiveness of the non-standard compound 3-deazaneplanocin A for an identified mutation. This patient-derived tumor organoid strategy is adaptable to a wide variety of cancers and may provide a framework with which to improve efforts in precision medicine oncology.
Article
Full-text available
Many drugs have progressed through preclinical and clinical trials and have been available – for years in some cases – before being recalled by the FDA for unanticipated toxicity in humans. One reason for such poor translation from drug candidate to successful use is a lack of model systems that accurately recapitulate normal tissue function of human organs and their response to drug compounds. Moreover, tissues in the body do not exist in isolation, but reside in a highly integrated and dynamically interactive environment, in which actions in one tissue can affect other downstream tissues. Few engineered model systems, including the growing variety of organoid and organ-on-a-chip platforms, have so far reflected the interactive nature of the human body. To address this challenge, we have developed an assortment of bioengineered tissue organoids and tissue constructs that are integrated in a closed circulatory perfusion system, facilitating inter-organ responses. We describe a three-tissue organ-on-a-chip system, comprised of liver, heart, and lung, and highlight examples of inter-organ responses to drug administration. We observe drug responses that depend on inter-tissue interaction, illustrating the value of multiple tissue integration for in vitro study of both the efficacy of and side effects associated with candidate drugs.
Article
Full-text available
Organ-on-a-chip systems are miniaturized microfluidic 3D human tissue and organ models designed to recapitulate the important biological and physiological parameters of their in vivo counterparts. They have recently emerged as a viable platform for personalized medicine and drug screening. These in vitro models, featuring biomimetic compositions, architectures, and functions, are expected to replace the conventional planar, static cell cultures and bridge the gap between the currently used preclinical animal models and the human body. Multiple organoid models may be further connected together through the microfluidics in a similar manner in which they are arranged in vivo, providing the capability to analyze multiorgan interactions. Although a wide variety of human organ-on-a-chip models have been created, there are limited efforts on the integration of multisensor systems. However, in situ continual measuring is critical in precise assessment of the microenvironment parameters and the dynamic responses of the organs to pharmaceutical compounds over extended periods of time. In addition, automated and noninvasive capability is strongly desired for long-term monitoring. Here, we report a fully integrated modular physical, biochemical, and optical sensing platform through a fluidics-routing breadboard, which operates organ-on-a-chip units in a continual, dynamic, and automated manner. We believe that this platform technology has paved a potential avenue to promote the performance of current organ-on-a-chip models in drug screening by integrating a multitude of real-time sensors to achieve automated in situ monitoring of biophysical and biochemical parameters.
Article
Full-text available
In this work, we constructed a Collagen I-Matrigel composite extracellular matrix (ECM). The composite ECM was used to determine the influence of the local collagen fiber orientation on the collective intravasation ability of tumor cells. We found that the local fiber alignment enhanced cell-ECM interactions. Specifically, metastatic MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells followed the local fiber alignment direction during the intravasation into rigid Matrigel (similar to 10 mg/mL protein concentration).
Article
Full-text available
Current animal and 2-D cell culture models employed in metastasis research and drug discovery remain poor mimics of human cancer physiology. Here we describe a "metastasis-on-a-chip" system allowing real time tracking of fluorescent colon cancer cells migrating from hydrogel-fabricated gut constructs to downstream liver constructs within a circulatory fluidic device system that responds to environmental manipulation and drug treatment. Devices consist of two chambers in which gut and liver constructs are housed independently, but are connected in series via circulating fluid flow. Constructs were biofabricated with a hyaluronic acid-based hydrogel system, capable of a variety of customizations, inside of which representative host tissue cells were suspended and metastatic colon carcinoma tumor foci were created. The host tissue of the constructs expressed normal epithelial markers, which the tumor foci failed to express. Instead, tumor regions lost membrane-bound adhesion markers, and expressed mesenchymal and proliferative markers, suggesting a metastatic phenotype. Metastatic tumor foci grew in size, eventually disseminating from the intestine construct and entering circulation, subsequently reaching in the liver construct, thus mimicking some of the migratory events observed during metastasis. Lastly, we demonstrated the ability to manipulate the system, including chemically modulating the hydrogel system mechanical properties and administering chemotherapeutic agents, and evaluated the effects of these parameters on invasive tumor migration. These results describe the capability of this early stage metastasis-on-a-chip system to model several important characteristics of human metastasis, thereby demonstrating the potential of the platform for making meaningful advances in cancer investigation and drug discovery. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
Full-text available
Personalized medicine has typically referred to the use of genomics in clinical care. However, the concept more broadly refers to recognizing the heterogeneity of each individual patient, particularly their unique risk factors for developing disease or having poor outcomes, and using this to inform treatment decisions. Pharmacogenomics was perhaps the first major clinical application that came out of the Human Genome Project, but its translation to the critical care arena has been limited by numerous factors. Biomarkers have been widely studied in critical illnesses such as sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome in an attempt to aid in accurate diagnostic classification, to predict outcomes, and to assess response to therapy. Clinical use of such biomarkers has remained limited, but multi-biomarker panels have attempted to better reflect the complex physiology of critical illness, and to assist in design and recruitment for clinical trials. Genetic association and gene expression studies have been aimed at classifying risk for and severity in disease, as well as in predicting outcomes. While our understanding of the pathogenesis of critical illness has progressed significantly, the clinical utility of genetic markers remains limited. Novel methods are reaching closer to clinically applicable platforms, both for use in clinical trials and in direct patient care. Although we are not yet living in an era of personalized and precise medical care in the intensive care unit, the future is promising.
Article
Full-text available
We demonstrate the additive manufacturing of complex three-dimensional (3D) biological structures using soft protein and polysaccharide hydrogels that are challenging or impossible to create using traditional fabrication approaches. These structures are built by embedding the printed hydrogel within a secondary hydrogel that serves as a temporary, thermoreversible, and biocompatible support. This process, termed freeform reversible embedding of suspended hydrogels, enables 3D printing of hydrated materials with an elastic modulus <500 kPa including alginate, collagen, and fibrin. Computer-aided design models of 3D optical, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging data were 3D printed at a resolution of ~200 μm and at low cost by leveraging open-source hardware and software tools. Proof-of-concept structures based on femurs, branched coronary arteries, trabeculated embryonic hearts, and human brains were mechanically robust and recreated complex 3D internal and external anatomical architectures.
Article
Full-text available
When considering treatment options for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), molecular profiling has become a pivotal component in guiding clinical decisions. FOLFOX and FOLFIRI (fluorouracuil, leucovorin plus oxaliplatin or ininotecan, respectively) are the standard base regimens used for the treatment of mCRC. Biologic agents, such as the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) targeted therapies, cetuximab and panitumumab and the vascular endothelial growth factor monoclonal antibody, bevacizumab, are safe and effective in the first-line setting. The most efficacious use of these agents in terms of timing and selection of the right patient population continues to be debated. Here we review multiple investigations into the effectiveness of treatment options as a function of the mutations present in colon cancers. Early studies have reported that KRAS mutations at exon 2 predict resistance to EGFR targeted therapies. More recently the data have expanded to include KRAS mutations at exons 3 and 4 and NRAS mutations at exons 2, 3 and 4 as well as other biomarkers including BRAF and PIK3CA, leading to the evolution of the treatment of mCRC to a more precision-based approach. As our understanding of relevant biomarkers increases, and data from both molecular profiling and treatment response become more readily available, treatment options will become more precise and their outcomes more effective.
Article
The liver is one of the most common sites of breast cancer metastasis and is associated with high lethality. Although the interaction between tumor cells and their microenvironment at metastatic sites has been recognized as a key regulator of tumor progression, the underlying mechanism is not fully elucidated. Here, we describe a three-dimensional (3D) microfluidic human liver-on-a-chip (liver-chip) that emulates the formation of a premetastatic niche to investigate the roles of breast cancer-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) in liver metastasis. We demonstrate that breast cancer-derived EVs activate liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) in the liver-chip, inducing endothelial to mesenchymal transition and destruction of vessel barriers. In addition, we show that transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1) in breast cancer-derived EVs upregulates fibronectin, an adhesive extracellular matrix protein, on LSECs, which facilitates the adhesion of breast cancer cells to the liver microenvironment. Furthermore, we observed that EVs isolated from triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients with liver metastasis contain higher TGFβ1 levels and induce adhesion of more breast cancer cells to the 3D human liver-chip than do EVs isolated from healthy donors or nonmetastatic TNBC patients. These findings provide a better understanding of the mechanisms through which breast cancer-derived EVs guide secondary metastasis to the liver. Furthermore, the 3D human liver-chip described in this study provides a platform to investigate the mechanisms underlying secondary metastasis to the liver and possible therapeutic strategies.
Article
Current practices in drug development have led to therapeutic compounds being approved for widespread use in humans, only to be later withdrawn due to unanticipated toxicity. These occurrences are largely the result of erroneous data generated by in vivo and in vitro preclinical models that do not accurately recapitulate human physiology. Herein, a human primary cell- and stem cell-derived 3D organoid technology is employed to screen a panel of drugs that were recalled from market by the FDA. The platform is comprised of multiple tissue organoid types that remain viable for at least 28 days, in vitro. For many of these compounds, the 3D organoid system was able to demonstrate toxicity. Furthermore, organoids exposed to non-toxic compounds remained viable at clinically relevant doses. Additional experiments were performed on integrated multi-organoid systems containing liver, cardiac, lung, vascular, testis, colon, and brain. These integrated systems proved to maintain viability and expressed functional biomarkers, long-term. Examples are provided that demonstrate how multi-organoid 'body-on-a-chip' systems may be used to model the interdependent metabolism and downstream effects of drugs across multiple tissues in a single platform. Such 3D in vitro systems represent a more physiologically relevant model for drug screening and will likely reduce the cost and failure rate associated with the approval of new drugs.
Article
Stem cells are the foundation of all mammalian life. Stem cells build and maintain our bodies throughout life. Two types of stem cells are discerned. 1) Embryonic stem cells (ES cells) are briefly present in the early human or mouse embryo, a few days after fertilization. These ES cells can be grown indefinitely in the lab and have the potential to build each and every tissue in our body. Because of this ‘pluripotency’, ES cells hold great promise for therapeutic application in the field of regenerative medicine. It is also possible to take skin cells (or other cells) from adults and convert these in the lab into cells with ES properties, so called iPS cells. Many of the hurdles that ES cell technology have faced, do not exist for iPS cells. 2) Adult stem cells. Every organ in our body is believed to harbor its own dedicated stem cells. These adult stem cells replace tissue that is lost due to wear and tear, trauma and disease. Adult stem cells are highly specialized and can only produce the tissue in which they reside; they are ‘multipotent’. Examples are bone marrow stem cells that make all blood cells, skin stem cells and gut stem cells. Even the brain is now known to harbor its specialized stem cells. The adult stem cells allow us to live 80-90 years, but this comes at a cost: they are the cells that most easily transform into cancer cells. Both types of stem cells can be used to establish ‘organoids’, 3D structures established in a dish, that recapitulate many aspects of the organ they represent. Pluripotent stem cells can be taken through the developmental steps that establish organs during embryogenesis. This has worked particularly well for parts of the the central nervous system, the kidney and GI organs. We have shown that adult epithelial stem cells carrying the generic Lgr5 marker can be cultured under tissue-repair conditions and generate epithelial organoids directly from healthy and diseased organs such as the gut, the liver, the lung and the pancreas. Organoid technology opens a range of avenues for the study of development, physiology and disease, for drug development and for personalized medicine. In the long run, cultured mini-organs may replace transplant organs from donors and hold promise in gene therapy.
Article
Introduction: We hypothesized that engineering a combined lymph node/melanoma organoid from the same patient would allow tumor, stroma, and immune system to remain viable for personalized immunotherapy screening. Methods: Surgically obtained matched melanoma and lymph node biospecimens from the same patient were transferred to the laboratory and washed with saline, antibiotic, and red blood cell lysis buffer. Biospecimens were dissociated, incorporated into an extracellular matrix (ECM)-based hydrogel system, and biofabricated into three dimensional (3D) mixed melanoma/node organoids. Cells were not sorted, so as to preserve tumor heterogeneity, including stroma and immune cell components, resulting in immune-enhanced patient tumor organoids (iPTOs). Organoid sets were screened in parallel with nivolumab, pembrolizumab, ipilimumab, and dabrafenib/trametinib for 72 h. LIVE/DEAD staining and quantitative metabolism assays recorded relative drug efficacy. Histology and immunohistochemistry were used to compare tumor melanoma cells with organoid melanoma cells. Lastly, node-enhanced iPTOs were employed to activate patient-matched peripheral blood T cells for killing of tumor cells in naïve PTOs. Results: Ten biospecimen sets obtained from eight stage III and IV melanoma patients were reconstructed as symbiotic immune/tumor organoids between September 2017 and June 2018. Successful establishment of viable organoid sets was 90% (9/10), although organoid yield varied with biospecimen size. Average time from organoid development to initiation of immunotherapy testing was 7 days. In three patients for whom a node was not available, it was substituted with peripheral blood mononuclear cells. iPTO response to immunotherapy was similar to specimen clinical response in 85% (6/7) patients. In an additional pilot study, peripheral T cells were circulated through iPTOs, and subsequently transferred to naïve PTOs from the same patient, resulting in tumor killing, suggesting a possible role of iPTOs in generating adaptive immunity. Conclusion: Development of 3D mixed immune-enhanced tumor/node organoids is a feasible platform, allowing individual patient immune system and tumor cells to remain viable for studying of personalized immunotherapy response.
Article
Human hematopoietic niches are complex specialized microenvironments that maintain and regulate hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC). Thus far, most of the studies performed investigating alterations of HSPC‐niche dynamic interactions are conducted in animal models. Herein, organ microengineering with microfluidics is combined to develop a human bone marrow (BM)‐on‐a‐chip with an integrated recirculating perfusion system that consolidates a variety of important parameters such as 3D architecture, cell–cell/cell–matrix interactions, and circulation, allowing a better mimicry of in vivo conditions. The complex BM environment is deconvoluted to 4 major distinct, but integrated, tissue‐engineered 3D niche constructs housed within a single, closed, recirculating microfluidic device system, and equipped with cell tracking technology. It is shown that this technology successfully enables the identification and quantification of preferential interactions—homing and retention—of circulating normal and malignant HSPC with distinct niches. Described is the deconstruction of the bone marrow niche cellularly into four distinct 3D niche types (sinusoidal, arterial, mesenchymal, and osteoblastic) within a microfluidic tissue chip. Shown is 1) preservation of niche‐specific markers, 2) the capability to live‐track healthy and malignant hematopoietic stem progenitor cells (HSPC), and 3) evidence that healthy versus malignant HSPC show different predilection for homing/engrafting.
Article
Bioprinting has become an essential tool of biomedical engineering and regenerative medicine. However, current biologically relevant bioinks, i.e. printing materials made from materials found within the extracellular matrix, are unable to support themselves and require a sacrificial support material to create large structures. To address this issue, we have developed a novel thixotropic bioink made from methacrylated collagen I, thiolated hyaluronic acid, and gelatin nanoparticles which is self-supporting and capable of creating large hollow structures through bioprinting. Once printed, this material can be photo-crosslinked to finalize the structure and can be immerse in media for culture with minimal swelling. An intersecting tubular structure 5 mm in diameter with a 1 mm wall thickness was able to be printed longitudinally without support material using a CellInk BIOX bioprinter. This bioink was also able to support HepG2 cells in bioprinted organoids, with adenosine triphosphate assays and immunohistochemistry showing proliferation. Responses to acetaminophen and troglitazone were as expected, proving that the new bioink does not significantly alter HepG2 drug response. With great mechanical properties as well as good biocompatibility, this new biologically relevant bioink is a great improvement over current bioinks.
Article
Lung cancer remains to be the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide yet in vitro disease models have been limited to traditional cancer tissue cultured primary cells and lines. In contrast, recently developed 3D models (organoids) are adopted to improve the physiological relevance. We have hypothesized that 3D hydrogel-based models will allow for improved disease replication and characterization over standard 2D culture using cells directly taken directly from patients. Here, we have leveraged the use of 3D hydrogel-based models to create lung cancer organoids using a unique cell source, pleural effusion aspirate, from multiple lung cancer patients. Through such models we have been able to characterize cell populations within the pleural effusion fluid samples over time and in vitro passage using histological staining. Chemotherapy treatments were also conducted on patient 3D and 2D samples as well as on comparable lung adenocarcinoma cells lines for comparison. It was found that patient’s isolated cells placed directly into organoids created anatomically relevant structures and exhibited behavior related to lung cancer. On the other hand, cells first grown in plastic dishes and then cultured in 3D did not create similar structures. Further, we have been able to directly compare drug response of patient’s cells between 2D and 3D cell culture systems. Our results show that cells in 2D culture were more sensitive compared with 3D organoids. Collectively, we have been able to utilize tumor cells from pleural effusion fluid of lung cancer patients to create organoids that display in vivo like anatomy and drug response and thus could serve as better disease models for study of tumor progression and for drug development.
Article
High-throughput technologies have become essential in many fields of pharmaceutical and biological development and production. Such technologies were initially developed with compatibility with liquid handling-based cell culture techniques to produce large-scale 2D cell culture experiments for the compound analysis of candidate drug compounds. Over the past two decades, tools for creating 3D cell cultures, organoids, and other 3D in vitro models, such as cell supportive biomaterials and 3D bioprinting, have rapidly advanced. Concurrently, a significant body of evidence has accumulated which speaks to the many benefits that 3D model systems have over traditional 2D cell cultures. Specifically, 3D cellular models better mimic aspects such as diffusion kinetics, cell-cell interactions, cell-matrix interactions, inclusion of stroma, and other features native to in vivo tissue and as such have become an integral part of academic research. However, most high throughput assays were not developed to specifically support 3D systems. Here, we describe the need for improved compatibility and relevant advances toward deployment and adoption of high throughput 3D models to improve disease modeling, drug efficacy testing, and precision medicine applications.
Article
Metastatic disease remains one of the primary reasons for cancer‐related death, yet the majority of in vitro cancer models focus on the primary tumor sites. Here we describe a metastasis‐on‐a‐chip device, that houses multiple bioengineered 3D organoids, established by a 3D photopatterning technique employing extracellular matrix‐derived hydrogel biomaterials. Specifically, cancer cells begin in a colorectal cancer (CRC) organoid, which resides in a single microfluidic chamber connected to multiple downstream chambers in which liver, lung, and endothelial constructs are housed. Under recirculating fluid flow, tumor cells grow in the primary site, eventually enter circulation, and can be tracked via fluorescent imaging. Importantly, we describe that in the current version of this platform, HCT116 CRC cells preferentially home to the liver and lung constructs; the corresponding organs of which CRC metastases arise the most in human patients. We believe that in subsequent studies this platform can be implemented to better understand the mechanisms underlying metastasis, perhaps resulting in identification of targets for intervention. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
Introduction We have hypothesized that biofabrication of appendiceal tumor organoids allows for a more personalized clinical approach and facilitates research in a rare disease. Methods Appendiceal cancer specimens obtained during cytoreduction with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy procedures (CRS/HIPEC) were dissociated and incorporated into an extracellular matrix-based hydrogel system as three-dimensional (3D), patient-specific tumor organoids. Cells were not sorted, preserving tumor heterogeneity, including stroma and immune cell components. Following establishment of organoid sets, chemotherapy drugs were screened in parallel. Live/dead staining and quantitative metabolism assays recorded which chemotherapies were most effective in killing cancer cells for a specific patient. Maintenance of cancer phenotypes were confirmed by using immunohistochemistry. Results Biospecimens from 12 patients were applied for organoid development between November 2016 and May 2018. Successful establishment rate of viable organoid sets was 75% (9/12). Average time from organoid development to chemotherapy testing was 7 days. These tumors included three high-grade appendiceal (HGA) and nine low-grade appendiceal (LGA) primaries obtained from sites of peritoneal metastasis. All tumor organoids were tested with chemotherapeutic agents exhibited responses that were either similar to the patient response or within the variability of the expected clinical response. More specifically, HGA tumor organoids derived from different patients demonstrated variable chemotherapy tumor-killing responses, whereas LGA organoids tested with the same regimens showed no response to chemotherapy. One LGA set of organoids was immune-enhanced with cells from a patient-matched lymph node to demonstrate feasibility of a symbiotic 3D reconstruction of a patient matched tumor and immune system component. Conclusions Development of 3D appendiceal tumor organoids is feasible even in low cellularity LGA tumors, allowing for individual patient tumors to remain viable for research and personalized drug screening.
Article
Most cancer treatment strategies target cell proliferation, angiogenesis, migration, and intravasation of tumor cells in an attempt to limit tumor growth and metastasis. An in vitro platform to assess tumor progression and drug sensitivity could provide avenues to enhance our understanding of tumor metastasis as well as precision medicine. We present a microfluidic platform that mimics biological mass transport near the arterial end of a capillary in the tumor microenvironment. A central feature is a quiescent perfused 3D microvascular network created prior to loading tumor cells or patient-derived tumor organoids in an adjacent compartment. The physiological delivery of nutrients and/or drugs to the tumor then occurs through the vascular network. We demonstrate the culture, growth, and treatment of tumor cell lines and patient-derived breast cancer organoids. The platform provides the opportunity to simultaneously and dynamically observe hallmark features of tumor progression including cell proliferation, angiogenesis, cell migration, and tumor cell intravasation. Additionally, primary breast tumor organoids are viable in the device for several weeks and induce robust sprouting angiogenesis. Finally, we demonstrate the feasibility of our platform for drug discovery and personalized medicine by analyzing the response to chemo- and anti-angiogenic therapy. Precision medicine-based cancer treatments can only be realized if individual tumors can be rapidly assessed for therapeutic sensitivity in a clinically relevant timeframe (⪅14 days). Our platform indicates that this goal can be achieved and provides compelling opportunities to advance precision medicine for cancer.
Article
Gastric cancer displays marked molecular heterogeneity with aggressive behavior and treatment resistance. Therefore, good in vitro models that encompass unique subtypes are urgently needed for precision medicine development. Here, we have established a primary gastric cancer organoid (GCO) biobank that comprises normal, dysplastic, cancer, and lymph node metastases (n = 63) from 34 patients, including detailed whole-exome and transcriptome analysis. The cohort encompasses most known molecular subtypes (including EBV, MSI, intestinal/CIN, and diffuse/GS, with CLDN18-ARHGAP6 or CTNND1-ARHGAP26 fusions or RHOA mutations), capturing regional heterogeneity and subclonal architecture, while their morphology, transcriptome, and genomic profiles remain closely similar to in vivo tumors, even after long-term culture. Large-scale drug screening revealed sensitivity to unexpected drugs that were recently approved or in clinical trials, including Napabucasin, Abemaciclib, and the ATR inhibitor VE-822. Overall, this new GCO biobank, with linked genomic data, provides a useful resource for studying both cancer cell biology and precision cancer therapy.
Article
Cancer is a major leading cause of disease-related death in the world. The severe impact of cancer can be attributed to poor understanding of the mechanisms involved in earliest steps of the metastatic cascade, specifically invasion into the surrounding stroma and intravasation into the blood capillaries. However, conducting integrated biological studies of invasion and intravasation have been challenging, within in vivo models and traditional in vitro assay, due to difficulties in establishing a precise tumor microenvironment. To that end, in this work, a novel 3D microfluidic platform comprised of concentric three-layer cell-laden hydrogels for simultaneous investigation of breast cancer cell invasion and intravasation as well as vasculature maturation influenced by tumor–vascular crosstalk is developed. It was demonstrated that the presence of spontaneously formed vasculature enhance MDA-MB-231 invasion into the 3D stroma. Following invasion, cancer cells are visualized intravasating into the outer vasculature. Additionally, invading cancer cells significantly reduce vessel diameter while increasing permeability, consistent with previous in vivo studies. Major signaling cytokines involved in tumor–vascular crosstalk that govern cancer cell invasion and intravasation are further identified. Taken together, this platform will enable unique insights of critical biological events within the metastatic cascade, with significant potential for developing efficient cancer therapeutics.
Chapter
Despite having yielded extensive breakthroughs in cancer research, traditional 2D cell cultures have limitations in studying cancer progression and metastasis and screening therapeutic candidates. 3D systems can allow cells to grow, migrate, and interact with each other and the surrounding matrix, resulting in more realistic constructs. Furthermore, interactions between host tissue and developing tumors influence the susceptibility of tumors to drug treatments. The past decade has seen a rapid advancement of the application of 3D cellular systems to cancer research. These 3D tumor models, or tumor organoids, occupy a range of distinct form factors, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and appropriateness for particular applications. In this chapter we highlight the major categories of tumor organoids and the methods by which they are biofabricated, aiming to provide the reader with an overview of the types of tumor organoids currently employed in cancer research applications.
Article
Here, we show that microfluidic organ-on-a-chip (organ chip) cell culture technology can be used to create in vitro human orthotopic models of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that recapitulate organ microenvironment-specific cancer growth, tumor dormancy, and responses to tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy observed in human patients in vivo. Use of the mechanical actuation functionalities of this technology revealed a previously unknown sensitivity of lung cancer cell growth, invasion, and TKI therapeutic responses to physical cues associated with breathing motions, which appear to be mediated by changes in signaling through epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and MET protein kinase. These findings might help to explain the high level of resistance to therapy in cancer patients with minimal residual disease in regions of the lung that remain functionally aerated and mobile, in addition to providing an experimental model to study cancer persister cells and mechanisms of tumor dormancy in vitro.
Article
Despite having yielded extensive breakthroughs in cancer research, traditional 2D cell cultures have limitations in studying cancer progression and metastasis and screening therapeutic candidates. 3D systems can allow cells to grow, migrate, and interact with each other and the surrounding matrix, resulting in more realistic constructs. Furthermore, interactions between host tissue and developing tumors influence the susceptibility of tumors to drug treatments. Host-liver colorectal-tumor spheroids composed of primary human hepatocytes, mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and colon carcinoma HCT116 cells were created in simulated microgravity rotating wall vessel (RWV) bioreactors. The cells were seeded on hyaluronic acid-based microcarriers, loaded with liver-specific growth factors and ECM components. Only in the presence of MSC, large tumor foci rapidly formed inside the spheroids and increased in size steadily over time, while not greatly impacting albumin secretion from hepatocytes. The presence of MSC appeared to drive self-organization and formation of a stroma-like tissue surrounding the tumor foci and hepatocytes. Exposure to a commonly used chemotherapeutic 5-FU showed a dose-dependent cytotoxicity. However, if tumor organoids were allowed to mature in the RWV, they were less sensitive to the drug treatment. These data demonstrate the potential utility of liver tumor organoids for cancer progression and drug response modeling.
Article
The cancer stem cell (CSC) theory highlights a self-renewing subpopulation of cancer cells that fuels tumour growth. The existence of human CSCs is mainly supported by xeno-transplantation of prospectively isolated cells, but their clonal dynamics and plasticity remain elusive. Here, we demonstrate that human LGR5(+) colorectal cancer cells serve as CSCs in growing cancer tissues. Lineage-tracing experiments with a CRISPR-Cas9-mediated LGR5-CreER knock-in allele reveal self-renewal and differentiation capacity of LGR5(+) tumour cells. Selective ablation of LGR5(+) CSCs in LGR5-iCaspase9 knock-in organoids leads to tumour regression, followed by tumour regrowth driven by re-emerging LGR5(+) CSCs. KRT20-CreER marks differentiated cancer cells that constantly diminish in tumour tissues, while reverting to LGR5(+) CSCs and contributing to tumour regrowth after LGR5(+) CSC ablation. We also show that combined chemotherapy potentiates LGR5(+) CSCs targeting. These data provide insights into the plasticity of CSCs and their potential as a therapeutic target in human colorectal cancer.
Article
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and aggressive form of primary brain tumor with median survival of 12 months. To improve clinical outcomes, it is critical to develop in vitro models that support GBM proliferation and invasion for deciphering tumor progression and screening drug candidates. A key hallmark of GBM cells is their extreme invasiveness, a process mediated by matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-mediated degradation of the extracellular matrix. We recently reported the development of a MMP-degradable, poly(ethylene-glycol)-based hydrogel platform for culturing GBM cells. In the present study, we modulated the percentage of MMP-degradable crosslinks in 3D hydrogels to analyze the effects of MMP-degradability on GBM fates. Using an immortalized GBM cell line (U87) as a model cell type, our results showed that MMP-degradability was not required for supporting GBM proliferation. All hydrogel formulations supported robust GBM proliferation, up to 10 fold after 14 days. However, MMP-degradability was essential for facilitating tumor spreading, and 50% MMP-degradable hydrogels were sufficient to enable both robust tumor cell proliferation and spreading in 3D. The findings of this study highlight the importance of modulating MMP-degradability in engineering 3D in vitro brain cancer models and may be applied for engineering in vitro models for other cancer types. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
For many cellular therapies being evaluated in preclinical and clinical trials, the mechanisms behind their therapeutic effects appear to be the secretion of growth factors and cytokines, also known as paracrine activity. Often, delivered cells are transient, and half-lives of the growth factors that they secrete are short, limiting their long-term effectiveness. The goal of this study was to optimize a hydrogel system capable of in situ cell delivery that could sequester and release growth factors secreted from those cells after the cells were no longer present. Here, we demonstrate the use of a fast photocross-linkable heparin-conjugated hyaluronic acid (HA-HP) hydrogel as a cell delivery vehicle for sustained growth factor release, which extends paracrine activity. The hydrogel could be modulated through cross-linking geometries and heparinization to support sustained release proteins and heparin-binding growth factors. To test the hydrogel in vivo, we used it to deliver amniotic fluid-derived stem (AFS) cells, which are known to secrete cytokines and growth factors, in full thickness skin wounds in a nu/nu murine model. Despite transience of the AFS cells in vivo, the HA-HP hydrogel with AFS cells improved wound closure and reepithelialization and increased vascularization and production of extracellular matrix in vivo. These results suggest that HA-HP hydrogel has the potential to prolong the paracrine activity of cells, thereby increasing their therapeutic effectiveness in wound healing. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 2016.
Article
Breast epithelial cells differentiate into tubules when cultured in floating three-dimensional (3D) collagen gels, but not when the cells are cultured in the same collagen matrix that is attached to the culture dish. These observations suggest that the biophysical properties of collagenous matrices regulate epithelial differentiation, but the mechanism by which this occurs is unknown. Tubulogenesis required the contraction of floating collagen gels through Rho and ROCK-mediated contractility. ROCK-mediated contractility diminished Rho activity in a floating 3D collagen gel, and corresponded to a loss of FAK phosphorylated at Y397 localized to 3D matrix adhesions. Increasing the density of floating 3D collagen gels also disrupted tubulogenesis, promoted FAK phosphorylation, and sustained high Rho activity. These data demonstrate the novel finding that breast epithelial cells sense the rigidity or density of their environment via ROCK-mediated contractility and a subsequent down-regulation of Rho and FAK function, which is necessary for breast epithelial tubulogenesis to occur.
Article
3D tissue models are increasingly being implemented for drug and toxicology testing. However, the creation of tissue-engineered constructs for this purpose often relies on complex biofabrication techniques that are time consuming, expensive, and difficult to scale up. Here, we describe a strategy for realizing multiple tissue constructs in a parallel microfluidic platform using an approach that is simple and can be easily scaled for high-throughput formats. Liver cells mixed with a UV-crosslinkable hydrogel solution are introduced into parallel channels of a sealed microfluidic device and photopatterned to produce stable tissue constructs in situ. The remaining uncrosslinked material is washed away, leaving the structures in place. By using a hydrogel that specifically mimics the properties of the natural extracellular matrix, we closely emulate native tissue, resulting in constructs that remain stable and functional in the device during a 7-day culture time course under recirculating media flow. As proof of principle for toxicology analysis, we expose the constructs to ethyl alcohol (0-500 mM) and show that the cell viability and the secretion of urea and albumin decrease with increasing alcohol exposure, while markers for cell damage increase.
The era of genomics-based medicine promises to provide molecular tests that will permit precision medicine. However, in 2015, it is not clear what the terms genomics-based medicine, molecular tests, or precision medicine mean. In this report, we review the definitions of these terms and other important semantics relative to what it takes to get a tumor biomarker into standard clinical practice, and the potential clinical trial designs that are being considered to determine if tumor biomarker tests based on next-generation sequencing actually provide benefit to patients with cancer.
Article
Advancement of bioprinting technology is limited by the availability of materials that both facilitate bioprinting logistics as well as support cell viability and function by providing tissue-specific cues. Herein we describe a modular hyaluronic acid (HA) and gelatin-based hydrogel toolbox comprised of a 2-crosslinker, 2-stage polymerization technique, and the capability to provide tissue specific biochemically and mechanically accurate signals to cells within biofabricated tissue constructs. First, we prepared and characterized several tissue-derived decellularized extracellular matrix-based solutions, which contain complex combinations of growth factors, collagens, glycosaminoglycans, and elastin. These solutions can be incorporated into bioinks to provide the important biochemical cues of different tissue types. Second, we employed combinations of PEG-based crosslinkers with varying molecular weights, geometries (linear, 4-arm, and 8-arm), and functional groups to yield hydrogel bioinks that supported extrusion bioprinting and the capability to achieve final construct shear stiffness values ranging from approximately 100 Pa to 20 kPa. Lastly, we integrated these hydrogel bioinks with a 3-D bioprinting platform, and validated their use by bioprinting primary liver spheroids in a liver-specific bioink to create in vitro liver constructs with high cell viability and measurable functional albumin and urea output. This hydrogel bioink system has the potential to be a versatile tool for biofabrication of a wide range of tissue construct types. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Article
A mounting body of evidence in cancer research suggests that the local microenvironment of tumor cells has a profound influence on cancer progression and metastasis. In vitro studies on the tumor microenvironment and its pharmacological modulation, however, are often hampered by the technical challenges associated with creating physiological cell culture environments that integrate cancer cells with the key components of their native niche such as neighboring cells and extracellular matrix (ECM) to mimic complex microarchitecture of cancerous tissue. Using early-stage breast cancer as a model disease, here we describe a biomimetic microengineering strategy to reconstitute three-dimensional (3D) structural organization and microenvironment of breast tumors in human cell-based in vitro models. Specifically, we developed a microsystem that enabled co-culture of breast tumor spheroids with human mammary ductal epithelial cells and mammary fibroblasts in a compartmentalized 3D microfluidic device to replicate microarchitecture of breast ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). We also explored the potential of this breast cancer-on-a-chip system as a drug screening platform by evaluating the efficacy and toxicity of an anticancer drug (paclitaxel). Our microengineered disease model represents the first critical step towards recapitulating pathophysiological complexity of breast cancer, and may serve as an enabling tool to systematically examine the contribution of the breast cancer microenvironment to the progression of DCIS to an invasive form of the disease.