Nanomedicine Unravelling tumour-stromal cell interactions using microfluidic devices

Tumours are highly heterogeneous and show different sensitivity to available treatment options. Their microenvironment, including intercellular crosstalk, has been shown to be crucial for cancer progression. Thus, a better understanding of the interactions established between tumour and stromal cells is required to identify new potential anti-cancer targets. In addition, many questions remain unanswered regarding the metastatic process, including preferential recruitment of cancer cells towards particular organs.

To tackle these questions, systems are being developed for in vitro co-culture of cells or tissues under dynamic conditions. These devices will be relevant to study cellular communication either through soluble factors and direct cell-cell interactions, overall important for the development of new innovative therapeutic approaches.  By mimicking complex in vivo microenvironments on a microscale level, these tools are expected to pave the way for drug efficacy screening and testing.