Horizon eBook - 13

Innovations in Cell-Based Screening * More Predictive Cell-Based Assays

Mimicking Tumor Hypoxia
Samantha Grist, Ph.D. candidate, University of British Columbia, has been
working on a microfluidic device with integrated oxygen sensors for the cellbased screening of cancer treatments under transient hypoxia, reflecting her
translational science perspective: "The multidisciplinary aspect of my project
was one of the things that drew me to it."
"My background is in engineering physics, and I am interested in applying
engineering concepts to projects in health sciences," she says. "My device
harnesses the small scales of microfluidic systems to reproduce time scales of
transient hypoxia in solid tumors for in vitro drug screening."
Transient hypoxia in tumors develops when irregular blood vessels in
tumors temporarily close and then reopen, leading to cycles of hypoxia and
then reperfusion in the tumor. Tumor tissue hypoxia, or inadequate oxygen,
is linked to drug resistance.
"I chose the device for my project because it can control the oxygen
conditions within a cell culture environment to produce static (chronic) hypoxic
conditions and oxygen gradients, as well as time-varying oxygen levels
(transient hypoxia)," she continues. "Traditional drug testing platforms like
well plates can't reproduce these kinds of oxygen profiles because of the long
distances that oxygen has to diffuse through before reaching the cells.
"I was able to successfully reproduce time-varying oxygen levels on similar
time scales to those in the body during transient hypoxia, as well as complex,

| GENengnews.com

Scientists at the University of British Columbia have created a microfluidic
device to reproduce time scales of transient hypoxia in solid tumors for
in vitro drug screening.


Horizon eBook

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