Is microfluidic chip technology a future of cancer treatment?

Guangzhou Medical University

A microfluidic chip technology allows miniaturized sample pretreatment, reaction, separation and detection on a chip – a set of micro-channels engraved into a material such as glass or silicon. Therefore, a chip can act as an excellent experimental and detection platform for large-scale drug screening. Guided by this thought, researchers from China, Ukrainian, German, Bulgarian, Finnish and USA Universities worked together in order to summarize the recent progress of microfluidic chips usage for anticancer drug screening.

When utilized for anticancer drug screening, microfluidic chip analysis is one of the frontier fields of science and technology, with benefits such as reduced medication consumption and tumor development. Other advantages include high integration, high sensitivity, high throughput, less reagent consumption and rapid large-scale analysis. Because of the micron-scale channel construction, this technology allows automation and portability, while at the same time accurately controlling substance concentration gradient and flow. Furthermore, completely adjusted temperature and pH conditions are followed up by a possibility of real-time monitoring.

Compared to existing analytical methods, the microfluidic chip can make the pretreatment process of natural products simpler, faster and cheaper, and it can be easily combined with other medical devices in order to study drug metabolism in cells. Still, although the importance of microfluidic chips in drug discovery has been recognized and refined, microfluidic technology has not been able to replace traditional drug screening platforms. Due to the variety of microfluidic chip designs and the lack of relevant industrial support, the cost of chips is high and it is difficult to promote to various laboratories. As a result, despite the fact that microfluidic chips offer a wide range of applications a high potential application value, their industrialization and popularization face significant challenges. Nonetheless, in the new era of personalized medicine, microfluidic chips should be developed for accurate and point-of-care cancer diagnosis, bringing hope for personalized cancer treatment.

微流控芯片技術允許在芯片上進行小型化樣品預處理、反應、分離和檢測 – 一組刻在玻璃或矽等材料中的微通道。因此,芯片可以作為大規模藥物篩選的優秀實驗和檢測平台。以此思路為指導,來自中國、烏克蘭、德國、保加利亞、芬蘭和美國大學的研究人員通力合作,總結了微流控芯片用於抗癌藥物篩選的最新進展。

當用於抗癌藥物篩選時,微流控芯片分析是科學技術的前沿領域之一,具有減少藥物消耗和腫瘤發展等好處。其他優點包括高集成度、高靈敏度、高通量、更少的試劑消耗和快速的大規模分析。由於微米級通道結構,該技術允許自動化和便攜性,同時精確控制物質濃度梯度和流量。此外,完全調節的溫度和 pH 條件可以進行實時監控。

與現有的分析方法相比,微流控芯片可以使天然產物的預處理過程更簡單、更快、更便宜,並且可以很容易地與其他醫療設備結合,研究細胞內的藥物代謝。儘管如此,儘管微流控芯片在藥物發現中的重要性已經得到認可和完善,但微流控技術並不能取代傳統的藥物篩選平台。由於微流控芯片設計種類繁多,缺乏相關產業支持,芯片成本高,難以推廣到各個實驗室。因此,儘管微流控芯片應用範圍廣泛,具有很高的潛在應用價值,但其產業化和推廣面臨重大挑戰。儘管如此,在個性化醫療的新時代,微流控芯片應被開髮用於準確和即時的癌症診斷,為個性化癌症治療帶來希望。

 

Reference: Fan X- yue, Deng Z- fen, Yan Y- yan, E. Orel V, Shypko A, B. Orel V, Ivanova D, Pilarsky C, Tang J, Chen Z-S, Zhang J- ye. Application of microfluidic chips in anticancer drug screening. Bosn J of Basic Med Sci [Internet]. 2021Sep.30 [cited 2022Jan.30];. Available from: https://www.bjbms.org/ojs/index.php/bjbms/article/view/6484.

Editor: Merima Bukva, MPharm

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