638. Polyglycerol-based biomedical matrix for immunomagnetic circulating tumor cell isolation and their expansion into tumor spheroids for drug screening
P. Tang, B. Thongrom, S. Arora, R. Haag – 2023
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are established as distinct cancer biomarkers for diagnosis, as preclinical models, and therapeutic targets. Their use as preclinical models is limited owing to low purity after isolation and the lack of effective techniques to create 3D cultures that accurately mimic in vivo conditions. Herein, a two-component system for detecting, isolating, and expanding CTCs to generate multicellular tumor spheroids that mimic the physiology and microenvironment of the diseased organ is proposed. First, an antifouling biointerface on magnetic beads is fabricated by adding a bioinert polymer layer and conjugation of biospecific ligands to isolate cancer cells, dramatically enhancing the selectivity and purity of the isolated cancer cells. Next, the isolated cells are encapsulated into self-degradable hydrogels synthesized using a thiol-click approach. The hydrogels are mechanochemically tuned to enable tumor spheroid growth to a size greater than 300 µm and to further release the grown spheroids while retaining their tumor-like characteristics. In addition, drug treatment highlights the need for 3D culture environments rather than conventional 2D culture. The designed biomedical matrix shows potential as a universal method to ensure mimicry of in vivo tumor characteristics in individual patients and to improve the predictability of preclinical screening of personalized therapeutics.