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Multiple drug resistance is a major cause of anticancer therapy failure. Most drug-resistance cancer cells develop this unfortunate characteristic due to a drug-pumping protein known as P-glycoprotein. Now, a team of investigators at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, has developed a microfluidic chip that can trap individual cancer cells and investigate the ability of various pump-blocking drugs to overcome drug resistance. This new "lab-on-a-chip" device could prove useful for studying multiple drug resistance and for selecting the appropriate therapy for a given patient.
Paul Li, Ph.D., and his colleagues developed the dime-size chip to select and retain individual cancer cells within a chamber that can be dosed with drugs loaded into an on-chip reservoir. An optical detection system, consisting of an inverted fluorescence microscope, enabled the researchers to measure drug influx and efflux in real time, before and after the cells were dosed with various pump inhibitors. In their current work, which appears in the journal Analytical Chemistry, the investigators studied the effects of the antipump drug verapamil on the net intake of the anticancer drug daunorubicin.
This work is detailed in the paper "Same-Single-Cell Analysis for the Study of Drug Efflux Modulation of Multidrug Resistant Cells Using a Microfluidic Chip." Investigators from the BC Cancer Research Center in Vancouver also participated in this study. An abstract of this paper is available at the journal's Web site.
About National Cancer Institute
To help meet the goal of reducing the burden of cancer, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, is engaged in efforts to harness the power of nanotechnology to radically change the way we diagnose, treat and prevent cancer.
The NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer is a comprehensive, systematized initiative encompassing the public and private sectors, designed to accelerate the application of the best capabilities of nanotechnology to cancer.
Currently, scientists are limited in their ability to turn promising molecular discoveries into benefits for cancer patients. Nanotechnology can provide the technical power and tools that will enable those developing new diagnostics, therapeutics, and preventives to keep pace with today’s explosion in knowledge.
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