In this study, a microfluidic tumour-on-a-chip platform is used to evaluate how natural killer (NK) cells respond to the tumour-induced, immune cell-suppressive environment. The tumour-on-a-chip model includes a microchamber where breast cancer cells are embedded in a 3D matrix and a lumen lined with endothelial cells and perfused with medium to nourish the cells, mimicking the vasculature present in the tumour. This design allows mimicking nutrient, pH, proliferation, and necrosis gradients across solid tumours. The results demonstrate that the suppressive environment created by the tumour gradually eroded NK cell cytotoxic capacity, leading to compromised NK cell surveillance and tumour tolerance. The microfluidic tumour-on-a-chip platform represents a model allowing to investigate tumour microenvironment and interaction with immune cells.
Microfluidic tumor-on-a-chip model to evaluate the role of tumor environmental stress on NK cell exhaustion
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