An Engineered Tumor-on-a-Chip Device with Breast Cancer-Immune Cell Interactions for Assessing T-cell Recruitment.
Recruitment of immune cells to a tumor is determined by the complex interplay between cellular and noncellular components of the tumor microenvironment. Ex vivo platforms that enable identification of key components that promote immune cell recruitment to the tumor could advance the field significantly. Herein, we describe the development of a perfusable multicellular tumor-on-a-chip platform involving different cell populations. Cancer cells, monocytes, and endothelial cells were spatially confined within a gelatin hydrogel in a controlled manner by using 3D photopatterning. The migration of the encapsulated endothelial cells against a chemokine gradient created an endothelial layer around the constructs. Using this platform, we examined the effect of cancer cell-monocyte interaction on T-cell recruitment, where T cells were dispersed within the perfused media and allowed to infiltrate. The hypoxic environment in the spheroid cultures recruited more T cells compared with dispersed cancer cells. Moreover, the addition of monocytes to the cancer cells improved T-cell recruitment. The differences in T-cell recruitment were associated with differences in chemokine secretion including chemokines influencing the permeability of the endothelial barrier. This proof-of-concept study shows how integration of microfabrication, microfluidics, and 3D cell culture systems could be used for the development of tumor-on-a-chip platforms involving heterotypic cells and their application in studying recruitment of cells by the tumor-associated microenvironment. SIGNIFICANCE: This study describes how tumor-on-chip platforms could be designed to create a heterogeneous mix of cells and noncellular components to study the effect of the tumor microenvironment on immune cell recruitment.
Aung, A; Kumar, V; Theprungsirikul, J; Davey, SK; Varghese, S
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