The technology for biochips was developed by TU Wien. Small tissue spheres are used in pharmaceutical research as mini-organ models. There is a way to develop a reliable standard for these tissue samples.
Before drugs can be used in clinical trials, they have to be tested in animal experiments or artificially produced tissue samples. Cells are cultivated and tiny spheres with a diameter of less than one millimeter are made. There are no uniform standards for the size and shape of tissue samples and no reliable method for producing them.
Results from different laboratories are not comparable due to the fact that the tissue size affects the behavior of cells and drugs. This problem can be solved with the invention of a biochip that can be used to produce tissue beads in precisely the desired sizes and supply them with nutrients or even drugs through a thin channel. A patent application for a new technology has been filed.
Drugs are tested on small tissue samples to understand them as well as possible before they can be administered to test subjects, says a PhD student in Professor Peter Ertl's research group. Taking the next step faster and more reliably is what higher precision means. A lot of money can be saved and a lot of time can be spent on the long road to producing a drug if the studies are accurate.
When studying the development of tumor cells or the safety of food or cosmetics, well-defined tissue samples are indispensable. The size of the samples is the most important factor in these studies. The environmental conditions for all cells are the same if the tissue consists of only a few cells.
When the concentration of certain chemicals is not the same everywhere, differences begin to play a greater role. Experiments are only comparable if you standardize the size and shape of the tissue samples In numerous experiments, the team at TU Wien investigated how this can be done. They affect tissue growth in different ways.
Sharp edges are a disadvantage, as it turns out. hemispherical cell containers have a diameter between 0.1 and 1mm. It's not easy to make such shapes. Ertl says they used microlenses, which are usually used for optical experiments.
A lot of these hemispheres are applied to the biochip and populated with cells. It is possible to make sure that different cavities are supplied with different concentrations of drug with a system of fine tubes. An area of just a few square centimeters is created as an experimental environment.
An artificial blood-brain barrier was created in an experiment with different types of cells. In one instance, we tested the effectiveness of a cancer drug. This allowed us to show that our chip performs well in tests.
The biochip is being used at the renowned Harvard Medical School, where Eilenberger is spending time abroad to research developed resistance of tumor cells to breast cancer drugs. The chip helps to standardize and replicate the patient's specific tumor environment with greater efficiency to make targeted therapy responses and predictions about the risk of relapse Experiments can be automated, chips can be combined and stacked to produce and test large numbers of spherical cell samples in a short time, and the design of the new method was designed from the beginning for industrial suitability. "The system is ideally suited for use in pharmaceutical research, which is why we have applied for a patent for our idea, and we are already in talks with various companies from the pharmaceutical industry who are very interested in our new technology."
A Microfluidic Multisize Spheroid array for Multiparametric Screening of Anticancer Drugs and BloodâBrain Barrier Transport is a reference. Vienna University of Technology provided the press release.