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The Tumor-on-Chip: Recent Advances in the Development of Microfluidic Systems to Recapitulate the Physiology of Solid Tumors

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Centro de Biotecnología-FEMSA, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Nuevo León CP 64849, Mexico
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Departamento de Ingeniería Mecátrónica y Eléctrica, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Nuevo León CP 64849, Mexico
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Division of Engineering in Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
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Centro de Investigación y Transferencia en Salud, Hospital San José, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Nuevo León CP 64849, Mexico
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2019, 12(18), 2945; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12182945
Received: 12 July 2019 / Revised: 3 September 2019 / Accepted: 4 September 2019 / Published: 11 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro and Nanotechnologies in Biomedicines)
The ideal in vitro recreation of the micro-tumor niche—although much needed for a better understanding of cancer etiology and development of better anticancer therapies—is highly challenging. Tumors are complex three-dimensional (3D) tissues that establish a dynamic cross-talk with the surrounding tissues through complex chemical signaling. An extensive body of experimental evidence has established that 3D culture systems more closely recapitulate the architecture and the physiology of human solid tumors when compared with traditional 2D systems. Moreover, conventional 3D culture systems fail to recreate the dynamics of the tumor niche. Tumor-on-chip systems, which are microfluidic devices that aim to recreate relevant features of the tumor physiology, have recently emerged as powerful tools in cancer research. In tumor-on-chip systems, the use of microfluidics adds another dimension of physiological mimicry by allowing a continuous feed of nutrients (and pharmaceutical compounds). Here, we discuss recently published literature related to the culture of solid tumor-like tissues in microfluidic systems (tumor-on-chip devices). Our aim is to provide the readers with an overview of the state of the art on this particular theme and to illustrate the toolbox available today for engineering tumor-like structures (and their environments) in microfluidic devices. The suitability of tumor-on-chip devices is increasing in many areas of cancer research, including the study of the physiology of solid tumors, the screening of novel anticancer pharmaceutical compounds before resourcing to animal models, and the development of personalized treatments. In the years to come, additive manufacturing (3D bioprinting and 3D printing), computational fluid dynamics, and medium- to high-throughput omics will become powerful enablers of a new wave of more sophisticated and effective tumor-on-chip devices. View Full-Text
Keywords: tumor-on-a-chip; cancer; organ-on-a-chip; microfluidics; nanoparticles; tissue engineering tumor-on-a-chip; cancer; organ-on-a-chip; microfluidics; nanoparticles; tissue engineering
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Trujillo-de Santiago, G.; Flores-Garza, B.G.; Tavares-Negrete, J.A.; Lara-Mayorga, I.M.; González-Gamboa, I.; Zhang, Y.S.; Rojas-Martínez, A.; Ortiz-López, R.; Álvarez, M.M. The Tumor-on-Chip: Recent Advances in the Development of Microfluidic Systems to Recapitulate the Physiology of Solid Tumors. Materials 2019, 12, 2945.

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