New work from the University of Florida, in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic and the University of California, Berkeley published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, described a novel microarray device with the ability to deliver combinations of chemotherapeutic drugs to cancer stem cells.
This is based on the principle that a subpopulation of stem cells, termed cancer stem cells, is responsible for initial tumor propagation. However, detecting and working with these cells has been difficult because of their relatively limited numbers.
The authors, led by Benjamin G. Keselowsky, Ph.D., an associate professor in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering, developed a microarray which delivers combinations of chemotherapeutic drugs to small numbers of stem cells captured on the microarray.
The remarkable features are the ability to treat and detect a number of cells that amounts to 6% of what a regular 96-well plate utilizes. The authors demonstrated efficiency by observing and recording responses to chemotherapeutic drugs when colorectal stem cells were grown on the microarray. The cells were taken from a 70-year-old, stage IV cancer patient and a 60-year-old patient with stage III colorectal cancer. The microarrays were seeded with only approximately 200 cells per culture group and results were in agreement within 14% error between test groups.
While the results reported in this manuscript came from only one cell type, the system opens up the opportunity for more rapid and sensitive cancer treatment.
The paper, titled “Drug-eluting microarrays to identify effective chemotherapeutic combinations targeting patient-derived cancer stem cells,” can be accessed here.
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