University of Wisconsin-Madison
3D in vitro tissue model for the study of metastasis and high-throughput drug screening.
Most cancer cells in vivo exist in a three-dimensional (3D) tumor mass composed of interacting cells, thus cancer growth, invasion and metastasis are governed by complex interactions between the cancer cells and their microenvironment. Therefore, 3D cancer models that recapitulate in vivo structure and function as closely as possible are desired to gain insights into cancer progression, improve the reliability of drug screening, and lower the cost of anti-cancer drug discovery. Several anti-cancer drug screening assays using 3D tissues have been developed, but they involve methods that are costly, time-consuming, and unreliable. Using microfluidic technology, we hope to develop a high-throughput platform incorporating 3D in vitro tissue models using techniques that overcome the limitations associated with current 3D models. Recently, we have developed a high-throughput method for producing collagen tubules in microchannels. By incorporating one cell type into the collagen matrix with a second cell type lining the lumen, we hope to mimic the in vivo structure and function of vasculature and cancerous breast duct tissue in vitro. Using these tissue models, we hope to gain new insight into metastasis and screen for cancer suppression factors more quickly and cost effectively than current methods.