APL Bioengineering (Sep 2023)

Magnetic self-assembly of 3D multicellular microscaffolds: A biomimetic brain tumor-on-a-chip for drug delivery and selectivity testing

  • Attilio Marino,
  • Matteo Battaglini,
  • Alessio Carmignani,
  • Francesca Pignatelli,
  • Daniele De Pasquale,
  • Omar Tricinci,
  • Gianni Ciofani

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 3
pp. 036103 – 036103-11


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In recent years, the need for highly predictive brain cancer models to test new anticancer compounds and experimental therapeutic approaches has significantly increased. Realistic in vitro brain tumor-on-a-chip platforms would allow a more accurate selection of valid candidate drugs and nanomedicines, therefore alleviating the economic and ethical issues of unsuccessful studies in vivo. Here, we present a multi-functional self-assembled brain tumor-on-a-chip model characterized by 3D glioma cultures interfaced both to nonmalignant brain cells of the peritumoral niche and to a 3D-real-scale blood–brain barrier (BBB) microfluidic system. This platform allowed us to screen multiple features, such as BBB crossing capabilities, apoptotic efficacy against GBM cells, and side effects on nonmalignant brain cells of a promising anticancer drug, nutlin-3a, which is fundamental for the treatment of brain cancer.