Development of microfluidic high-throughput bioassays based on 3D matrix-supported spheroids

Robert Gordon University

Past award

Student: Theresa Mulholland

Year Award Started: 2014

A major drawback in the development of anticancer treatments and anticancer drug testing is the use of 2D cell cultures as a model for solid tumours. The aim of this project is to develop novel drug screening and therapeutic methodologies for cancer, based on the use of microfluidic techniques that enable the formation of 3D cell cultures. For this, in collaboration with AMS Biotechnology (Europe) Ltd, we propose to use micron-sized emulsions to create solid tumour models by forming and manipulating matrix-supported spheroids. This miniaturised approach, combined with the high control over fluid flows offered by microfluidic techniques, could allow the assessment of a wide range of drugs and radiotherapies on tumour microenvironments in 3D spheroid models which are more representative of micro-metastases in vivo. The technique uses reduced cell volumes and drug quantities with respect to conventional procedures, thus decreasing the cost of the assay without compromising the throughput. Outcomes from this project are expected to provide both devices and methodologies that can be used for developing tumour growth and invasion assays, novel combination therapeutics and also in vitro systems that mimic the extravascular diffusion of anticancer agents in tissues.

Research area: Cancer


Dr Michele Zagnoni
Electronic & Electrical Engineering
Professor David Flint
Strathclyde Institute for Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

AMS Biotechnology (Europe) Ltd