Lab on a chip

3D microvascular model recapitulates the diffuse large B-cell lymphoma tumor microenvironment in vitro.

PMID 28054086


Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is an aggressive cancer that affects ∼22 000 people in the United States yearly. Understanding the complex cellular interactions of the tumor microenvironment is critical to the success and development of DLBCL treatment strategies. In vitro platforms that successfully model the complex tumor microenvironment without introducing the variability of in vivo systems are vital for understanding these interactions. To date, no such in vitro model exists that can accurately recapitulate the interactions that occur between immune cells, cancer cells, and endothelial cells in the tumor microenvironment of DLBCL. To that end, we developed a lymphoma-on-chip model consisting of a hydrogel based tumor model traversed by a vascularized, perfusable, round microchannel that successfully recapitulates key complexities and interactions of the in vivo tumor microenvironment in vitro. We have shown that the perfusion capabilities of this technique allow us to study targeted treatment strategies, as well as to model the diffusion of infused reagents spatiotemporally. Furthermore, this model employs a novel fabrication technique that utilizes common laboratory materials, and allows for the microfabrication of multiplex microvascular environments without the need for advanced microfabrication facilities. Through our facile microfabrication process, we are able to achieve micro vessels within a tumor model that are highly reliable and precise over the length of the vessel. Overall, we have developed a tool that enables researchers from many diverse disciplines to study previously inaccessible aspects of the DLBCL tumor microenvironment, with profound implications for drug delivery and design.