Development of a collagen-based model for testing nanoparticle drug delivery to tumors
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Cancer continues to take many lives each year and has posed a seemingly insurmountable challenge to scientists around the world. Traditional methods of treatment, including chemotherapy, are ineffective and result in undesirable effects on healthy tissue. As a result, researchers are seeking new methods of targeted therapy that will kill only tumor cells. Stemming from the discovery of the Enhanced Permeability and Retention (EPR) effect and recent advances in nanotechnology, one such method involves the use of nanoparticles as drug carriers into the core tumor tissue by taking advantage of characteristic features of the tumor vasculature. Although this method has shown promise in inducing targeted effects, effective distribution of these particles in vivo are inhibited by a host of factors, including the dense collagen matrix that makes up tumors. Furthermore, the failure of animal model study results to translate into positive outcomes in human trials has warranted the need for new testing methods that model the in vivo tumor conditions seen in patients. This study aims to address both these issues by developing a basis of experiments that can be utilized for the development of a collagen-based microfluidic device for nanoparticle-based drug delivery testing.