Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Droplet array sheds light on drug-resistant cancer stem cells

Date:
May 9, 2012
Source:
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Summary:
Researchers have developed a miniaturized biochip for investigating the effect of drugs on cancer stem cells. This new technology could boost the development of more effective cancer drugs.

Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), the world's first bioengineering and nanotechnology research institute, have developed a miniaturized biochip for investigating the effect of drugs on cancer stem cells (CSCs). Published recently in Nano Today, this new technology could boost the development of more effective cancer drugs.

In a tumor, CSCs form a small and distinct class of cancer cells that are more resistant to chemotherapy. Similar to stem cells found in human tissues, CSCs can produce and differentiate into different cell types. If CSCs are not eradicated, they can repopulate the tumor and lead to cancer recurrence. Hence, it is important for researchers to understand the efficacy of anti-cancer drugs against CSCs. However, since CSCs are so scarce -- they make up approximately 1% of cancer cells -- their study has been hampered by conventional drug screening methods, which require large sample volumes and are slow and expensive.

A team of researchers led by IBN Executive Director, Professor Jackie Y. Ying, has developed a miniaturized biological assay called the Droplet Array to perform cheaper, faster and more convenient drug screening using limited samples.

In traditional biological assays, microplates -- a flat plate with multiple wells in which samples are placed -- are commonly used, and each well requires at least 2,500 or 5,000 cells, to be present for viable analysis. By comparison, IBN's Droplet Array is a flat, rectangular glass plate on which a series of spots, each 2 millimeters in diameter, are arranged. The samples are pipetted into these tiny spots, making them appear like droplets. The plate is then coated with a layer of proprietary oil to prevent evaporation and cross contamination between the sample droplets during the rinsing process. An accompanying bench-top device to automate the rinsing process of the plate has also been developed. Being one-fifth the size of a well in a standard microplate, each spot on IBN's Droplet Array requires only 500 cells for screening. This massive reduction in sample volume not only saves money, but is also particularly advantageous for studying scarce quantities of target cells, such as CSCs.

Using the Droplet Array, the IBN researchers investigated the drug responses of CSCs extracted from breast, liver and colon cancer cells. It was found that chemotherapeutic drugs such as doxorubicin, which usually induce cell death in liver cancer cells, demonstrated poor efficacy in liver CSCs. The CSCs from the breast and colon tumors also showed much greater ability to survive the effects of anti-cancer drugs.

Animal studies were conducted to validate the findings of the Droplet Array. CSCs and non-CSCs from liver tumors were implanted into two different sets of mice at the same time. After 6 weeks, tumors were formed in the mice implanted with CSCs, whereas the mice without CSCs did not develop any tumors. Tumors extracted from the mice with CSCs also showed blood vessel formation, which confirmed the self-renewal property of these cells.

The drug resistance properties of CSCs have been widely discussed in recent years but until now, it has been challenging to quantify this correlation. Using the Droplet Array, IBN researchers have successfully demonstrated that CSCs can survive chemotherapy and drive metastasis.

Professor Jackie Y. Ying said, "The Droplet Array marks a significant breakthrough in nanotechnology and lab-on-a-chip concepts, and provides an efficient platform for accelerating drug screening and development. The study of cancer stem cells, in particular, is an exciting application of this technology for both the academic and pharmaceutical industries. We hope that this finding will facilitate the development of more effective cancer drugs. We also hope to leverage on the Droplet Array's capabilities to complement/replace animal models for drug toxicity testing, and develop new cancer diagnostics."

Designed for ease of use, this miniaturized biochip is compatible with existing laboratory instruments, such as plate readers and microscopes, and reduces the set-up cost and the need to purchase additional equipment when adapting to this new technology. The Droplet Array technology is currently being commercialized by IBN's first spinoff company, Curiox Biosystems Pte Ltd, as DropArrayTM.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yong Yeow Lee, Karthikeyan Narayanan, Shu Jun Gao, Jackie Y. Ying. Elucidating drug resistance properties in scarce cancer stem cells using droplet microarray. Nano Today, 2012; 7 (1): 29 DOI: 10.1016/j.nantod.2012.01.003

Cite This Page:

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. "Droplet array sheds light on drug-resistant cancer stem cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509111440.htm>.
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. (2012, May 9). Droplet array sheds light on drug-resistant cancer stem cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509111440.htm
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. "Droplet array sheds light on drug-resistant cancer stem cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509111440.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins