Patient-specific spheroid-on-chip for cancer treatment: combinatory drug screening

Student of Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, Sharanya Sankar and Viraj Mehta won the award for a Patient-specific spheroid-on-chip for cancer treatment: combinatory drug screening. They carried their project work under the guidance of Dr Subha Narayan Rath.

Screening tumor biopsies from cancer patients and finding the appropriate drug combinations to treat the disease at various stages has been a challenge owing to the failure of the in-vitro cancer models to recapitulate the native tissue microenvironment of tumors. The prominence of this work lies in the development of a personalized healthcare set-up for cancer diagnostics and treatment for a patient-specific tumor sample. We have developed a microfluidic platform with strategically placed U-shaped wells for screening the combinatory effect of drugs on tumor spheroids. Also, the optimal flow conditions similar to the in-vivo flow regimes have been simulated. This set-up has inlet ports to provide a continuous flow of media through it to mimic the tumor microenvironment in-vivo. The outlet ports would prevent the back-flow of the excess fluid and maintain the flow conditions inside the wells. The platform allows self-formation of tumor spheroids on passing the cancer cells through the inlet port. Due to the continuous flow of media, the conditions in the well would not be static as compared to the existing models and provide physiologically relevant data with accurate predictive results. Further, the chip can be re-used by sterilizing it through simple techniques making it cost-effective and affordable. Hence, patient-specific tumor samples can be tested in the chip paving a way to create personalized profiling of drugs and their concentration for the treatment. Till date, standard drug treatments are administered to patients suffering from cancer irrespective of their conditions. This system would be a customized set-up to treat individual patients for their specific conditions. This would be a quick and effective approach in treating the fast progressing life-threatening disease. This innovation would be an invaluable step for developing an affordable healthcare set-up for cancer diagnostics and treatment.

The Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu awarded the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award to Sharanya Sankar and Viraj Mehta Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad at the GYTI 2019 Awards function held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on July 06, 2019.