Vanderbilt University PS-OP
Our project aims to develop a new computationally driven platform to examine complex physical and chemical microenvironments utilizing organ-on-chip microfluidic bioreactor technology coupled with a predictive mathematical model of tumor growth and therapeutic response. Malignant breast tumors are highly heterogeneous in terms of their cellular composition, varying levels of oxygenation, acidity, and nutrients, as well as local changes in the extracellular matrix. Furthermore, tumor tissue and tumor microenvironment properties can dynamically evolve not only during tumor growth but also when anticancer treatments are administered. Despite this, nearly all pre-clinical assessments of drug efficacy and optimal dosing are performed using homogeneous 2D cell cultures that do not resemble the cellular, metabolic, and physical features manifest in tumors in vivo. Such approach suffered from overly reductionist ex vivo/in vitro and studies may not fully recapitulate the complexity of cancers, especially their physical and chemical microenvironments.