Using vibrator found in cell phones, researchers develop 3D tumor spheroids to screen for anti-cancer drugs

Feb. 13, 2024
Depending on their location, cancer cells within a three-dimensional (3D) tumor structure can have different microenvironments.

Investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital developed a low-cost, high-throughput device that can reliably generate uniform tumor spheroids.

The study describes how to assemble the ‘Do-It-Yourself (DIY)’ device from parts totaling less than $7, including a coin-vibrating motor commonly found in cell phones.

By vibrating a suspension of cancer cells flowing rapidly out of a fine nozzle, the team was able to create nearly 4000 equally sized droplets per minute. They found that cancer cells within the droplets aggregated to form tumor spheroids with hypoxic cores and exhibited proliferation markers typical of in vivo tumors.

The tumor spheroids also demonstrated clinically typical responses to chemotherapy, with cancer cells at the hypoxic core driving tumor survival and drug resistance. These findings, the authors suggest, could help overcome the limitations of traditional two-dimensional cancer cell cultures and provide insights for improved drug development.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital release on Newswise

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