Perfused Three-dimensional Organotypic Culture of Human Cancer Cells for Therapeutic Evaluation.
Wan X., Ball S., Willenbrock F., Yeh S., Vlahov N., Koennig D., Green M., Brown G., Jeyaretna S., Li Z., Cui Z., Ye H., O'Neill E.
Pharmaceutical research requires pre-clinical testing of new therapeutics using both in-vitro and in-vivo models. However, the species specificity of non-human in-vivo models and the inadequate recapitulation of physiological conditions in-vitro are intrinsic weaknesses. Here we show that perfusion is a vital factor for engineered human tissues to recapitulate key aspects of the tumour microenvironment. Organotypic culture and human tumour explants were allowed to grow long-term (14-35 days) and phenotypic features of perfused microtumours compared with those in the static culture. Differentiation status and therapeutic responses were significantly different under perfusion, indicating a distinct biological response of cultures grown under static conditions. Furthermore, heterogeneous co-culture of tumour and endothelial cells demonstrated selective cell-killing under therapeutic perfusion versus episodic delivery. We present a perfused 3D microtumour culture platform that sustains a more physiological tissue state and increased viability for long-term analyses. This system has the potential to tackle the disadvantages inherit of conventional pharmaceutical models and is suitable for precision medicine screening of tumour explants, particularly in hard-to-treat cancer types such as brain cancer which suffer from a lack of clinical samples.