Drug resistance is a characteristic of tumor initiating cells that can give rise to metastatic disease. In this work we demonstrate the use of microbubble well arrays as a cell culture platform to enumerate and characterize drug resistant cells in a human derived tumorigenic squamous cell carcinoma cell line. The spherical architecture and compliant hydrophobic composition of the microbubble well favors single cell survival, clonal proliferation and formation of spheres that do not grow on standard tissue culture plastic and are resistant to cisplatin. Spheres form in isolation and in microbubble wells containing proliferating cells and to some degree they stain positive for common stem cell markers CD44 and CD133. Spheres are also observed in cellularized primary human tumors cultured in microbubble arrays. This proof-of-concept study illustrates the potential for microbubble array technology to enumerate cancer cells resistant to standard care drugs with the ability to test alternative drug combinations. This capability can be developed for designing patient specific treatment strategies. Recovery of drug-resistant cells will allow a more full characterization of their gene expression profile thereby expanding our fundamental knowledge and ability to develop new targets to fight metastatic disease.
Biomedical Microdevices – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 29, 2017
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