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Scientists create organs-on-chips for large-scale drug screening

Microtissue technology seen as improvement for drug compound discovery

Date:
February 8, 2017
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
Modeling human organs on a small scale has been a major goal of researchers focused on improving the discovery of drug compounds that can target specific tissue cells, such as cancerous tumors. Now scientists have discovered an effective way to recreate the complex three-dimensional structure of tissues in a format that can be used in drug compound screening for potential new treatments.
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This is an image of a vascularized microtumor (VMT) within a chamber unit of a 96 well plate. Blood vessels are stained in red, and tumor cells in green.
Credit: Hughes Lab

Led by UCI professor of molecular biology & biochemistry Christopher C.W. Hughes, the research team successfully established multiple vascularized micro-organs on an industry-standard 96-well plate. Hughes and the study's first author, Duc T. T. Phan, showed that these miniature tissues are much better at reproducing human drug responses than previous model systems. Hughes and his group have shown how the flow of a blood substitute through the vascular network they created can deliver nutrients to multiple kinds of tissues, including heart, pancreas, brain and various tumors.

"This is truly a unique platform -- we have recreated in a dish the key element common to all tissues, which is that they depend on blood vessels for their survival. This feature is missing in all previously described in vitro organ cultures," Hughes said.

Hughes' team was also able to establish a functional vascularized microtumor (VMT) within the 96-well plate system and demonstrated its potential for anti-cancer drug screening. Working with a panel of FDA-approved anti-cancer drugs and a human colon cancer, they found that the VMT platform could accurately identify drugs that target the tumor cells, the vessels that supply them, or both.

"This is a major breakthrough," continued Dr. Hughes, "For the first time we can identify in the same assay drugs that target both tumor cells and the vessels that feed them."


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Materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Duc T. T. Phan, Xiaolin Wang, Brianna M. Craver, Agua Sobrino, Da Zhao, Jerry C. Chen, Lilian Y. N. Lee, Steven C. George, Abraham P. Lee, Christopher C. W. Hughes. A vascularized and perfused organ-on-a-chip platform for large-scale drug screening applications. Lab Chip, 2017; 17 (3): 511 DOI: 10.1039/C6LC01422D

Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Scientists create organs-on-chips for large-scale drug screening: Microtissue technology seen as improvement for drug compound discovery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 February 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170208150153.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2017, February 8). Scientists create organs-on-chips for large-scale drug screening: Microtissue technology seen as improvement for drug compound discovery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170208150153.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Scientists create organs-on-chips for large-scale drug screening: Microtissue technology seen as improvement for drug compound discovery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170208150153.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

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