The relationship between cancer and the immune system is very complex, but unfortunately most early-stage cancer research is conducted “in a dish” and fails to replicate much of this complexity.
Dr. Dan Huh—the recipient of the inaugural CRI Technology Impact Award—wants to change that. To do so, he’s harnessing engineering techniques that were originally developed for making computer chips, and using them to create a “cancer-on-a-chip” device capable of mimicking the complex structure and dynamic environment of tumors and their surrounding tissues. Perhaps most importantly, the model will contain blood vessels so that immune cells can circulate, just like they do in our bodies.
This vascularized “cancer-on-a-chip” model will enable Dr. Huh and his team to characterize the mechanisms that define the interactions between cancer cells and immune cells. Furthermore, Dr. Huh is also exploring the model’s potential as a drug-screening platform that could better predict the effectiveness of cancer.
Projects and Grants
A microengineered biomimetic model of tumor-immune cell interactions
University of Pennsylvania | All Cancers, Lung Cancer | 2017
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